Cortex 62: 2018 Yearly Themes


  is it too late to wish you a Happy New

  Year I don't think it's too late to wish

  you a happy Court Xmas yeah I feel like

  we need to really do that before because

  court Xmas has happened if we say it's

  going to happen now that's not true

  right because there will be more soon

  but we have had we had a lot of cortex

  misses in last year though let's be real

  right there are a lot of them so we're

  there I don't know it felt like they

  were so they were so few like court Xmas

  is such a precious time and I guess that

  ties into your 2017 theme was it no wait

  mine was the year of less right you will

  like year or something or other that no

  one could work out you don't remember my

  theme for the year I'm disappointed you

  don't know her Mike Mike confusing

  poorly articulated theme for the year I

  didn't know I didn't it's written in

  front of me and I still don't know what

  so we are gonna we're gonna talk about

  our yearly themes but we're gonna talk

  about last year's we're going to

  evaluate how we performed against our

  yearly themes so we kind of established

  these in episode 44 of cortex and spoke

  about them a little bit more in episode

  45 if you're catching up it's probably

  worth listening to those as well so you

  can hear us establish our themes

  my theme of 2017 was the year of Les

  which was your 2016 theme right that was

  where that debuted is the year of Les

  we've done this for three this is the

  third year Wow

  the third time that we've done becoming

  a real tradition yeah I think that the

  2016 one wasn't as like set in stone

  like there wasn't a set in stone it was

  just like something you mentioned that

  was what you were thinking about in that

  year right but then I think I might have

  been in 2017 where we started to like

  think about this as a thing that doesn't

  we started to lock ourselves in mm-hmm

  check out like a narrow tradition going

  which is important yeah I guess I find

  traditions to be very important in

  podcast people can look forward to it

  and it's something that is obviously

  cool on because I had people even in

  person told me when are you doing the

  2018 yeah episode so people like it yeah

  I've got to say a people that people do

  like it I had a number of

  we'll mention him person to me as well

  like they were thinking about their own

  themes for the year and I've seen a

  bunch of chatter on the core-tex

  subreddit about what people are going to

  do for their own games for the year so I

  do say I think people like it and you

  know when we started talking about this

  I just again reiterate that I really

  much prefer the idea of a theme versus a

  goal I still feel the need right now to

  to be able to back out and say like you

  don't necessarily need a theme every

  year it doesn't need to be a tradition

  we don't absolutely have to do this

  maybe some year it doesn't make sense to

  do right but no but that that year will

  just be the year of no theme right so

  that that's how that works right okay

  that's how that works that the yearly

  themed stuff was so much better than

  resolutions because resolutions are dumb

  what you're doing is creating a basic

  idea or framework that you can build

  many goals and resolutions in throughout

  the year yeah you know like instead of

  me saying oh my new year's resolution is

  to hire somebody it was no I'm gonna be

  doing a year of less and then part of

  that might be doing this but I want to

  see how it goes

  so it works way nicer because it's more

  open-ended it's just a phrase as opposed

  to like a thing that has an actual like

  binary yes or no did I achieve it and I

  think that is a much nicer way to think

  about my working life so I appreciate

  that introduction to the idea yeah it's

  it's way better for the reasons you said

  I also like the idea that you don't feel

  as bound by it like if someone sets up a

  theme for the year and they realize

  halfway through the year it doesn't make


  it is not the same thing as like oh I've

  said the goal that this is the year I'm

  going to be really healthy and now I'm

  just a big fat failure right it's it's a

  different it's a different thing of like

  I want to adjust the theme midstream you

  know like it's it's a much better way to

  think about things and again like I'll

  say that these are like my personal

  feelings on it so for my company we have

  goals and objectives that we want to hit

  right relate it around hard numbers and

  percentage increases of those numbers

  but for myself personally I don't really

  like to set those really really rigid

  goals as such and and I think it works

  better like a company is made up of a

  selection of people and I feel like that

  the goals if you if you want to

  look at like Oh what will I revenue be

  like or how many listeners what we have

  right there are types of things setting

  goals and objectives for those make

  sense because it is vital for the

  existence of the business that those

  things remain or grow where like for me

  personally it is not vital to my

  existence as to whether I well maybe I

  was gonna say whether I go to the gym

  three times a week or twice possibly it

  is maybe that's a bad example but like

  it is not vital to my existence of like

  oh how many books am I gonna read this

  year like I don't I don't live or die on

  that metric yeah I was just starting to

  laugh because I was thinking yeah it's a

  theme is personal to an individual which

  is also why it wouldn't make sense for a

  company to do like I was thinking if Tim

  Cook came out one day was like we

  haven't we have a theme for the year for

  Apple right and like what's going on

  with Apple this year he's like our theme

  for the year is beauty it'd be like

  uh-oh in real trouble because it's also

  just like what does that mean to people

  right you need to then let up have all

  these bullet points so I it's like that

  out here if you're a company you need

  some goals right you need some metrics

  but for your flourishing as an

  individual human a theme is a much

  better framework in which to operate so

  tell me Mike how did your year of Les go

  so I actually had two yearly themes one

  of them established itself halfway

  through the year that's see they're very

  open to change I did a I took it and

  turned it right i innovated on that on

  the theme idea and we'll get to the

  second one in a minute but mike the one

  that i established last year the

  beginning of the year was the year of

  less because i had spent a year talking

  to you and looking at all the things

  that you were doing and the improvements

  that you were making on your working

  life and throughout those conversations

  i decided that there were things that I

  needed to do for mine and one of the big

  big things for year of less was to get

  help to get some kind of assistance and

  I did we hired an assistant and this

  person has been excellent for us and

  we're giving more and more and more to

  them and it was a lot of work to get

  going my gosh my gosh was it a lot of

  work to get going

  with the interview process and then

  after all of that you've got a like help

  train someone right you can't just be

  like oh you go do your job can you

  remind me when when in the year did that

  happen like when did when were you doing

  interviews at the very beginning of the

  year I think it was maybe like February

  or March or something like that okay so

  it was very early in the year I just

  wasn't sure it was very early yeah um we

  did it I mean just going through I don't

  know if I spoke about at the time but

  I'm happy to say now I think we've got

  like a hundred and fifty applications

  for the job and we took ten people to

  interview now we thought our ten

  people's flight that's ten hours and we

  did it in one week it was like it was

  tough it was a lot of work to go through

  all of that information and 150 is a lot

  when it kind of gets a little

  mind-numbing because so many people

  write the same stuff right I mean that's

  the way that it's funny

  you kind of think and I know I've been

  in this position you think that there is

  a specific way in which you should apply

  for a job right the things that you

  write and things that you say but the

  problem with that is you then just blend

  in to like to everybody else like going

  through some of these applications I

  kind of was unable to tell where one

  person ended in the next person began by

  the end of it yeah yeah and then but

  you've also got the the opposite problem

  if you try and stick out too much you

  maybe take a bit of a risk it is a

  tricky thing to apply if it's a gel it's

  a delicate balance yet because if you

  stick out too much now you're the weirdo

  all right and like okay this is the

  application that sticks out way too much

  there are certain types of jobs where

  it's easier like with yours people were

  able to provide you with a piece of work

  right and so there is like a an

  entertainment quality value which makes

  somebody stick out I guess but for me it

  was just like write me a cover letter

  like that was what I wanted to see and

  it's always just text I mean and so yeah

  it felt like it was blending in a little

  bit but I don't know maybe it's just

  because I don't like to read I didn't

  enjoy it who knows no but it's it is

  it's going to be the case that when you

  when you start talking about

  hundred and fifty people applying to a

  thing they said this is where again like

  people then start falling into

  categories like you're mentally you

  can't deal with a hundred and fifty

  people in your brain and so you start

  like bidding people into groups and then

  that's where it's like uh other day like

  I have a lot of sympathy for everybody

  applying to any kind of job because

  that's that's part of what the trouble

  is is like trying to try to indicate to

  the person who's reading the

  applications what kind of person you are

  and and like that you can do the job and

  like how how do you signal that when

  your only tool is a resume it's it's

  incredibly different and the issue is it

  if you as the hiring manager want to get

  this done in a timely fashion there is

  nothing you can do than to just

  disregard some people right oh every if

  and it's a shame and I wished it kind of

  wasn't like this and you could in theory

  if you had a month to make your decision

  going through the resumes then you could

  read every one and consider them all but

  if you weren't trying to fill a position

  which typically whenever you're trying

  to fill a position speed is always good

  right yeah that's right there is just an

  unfortunate part of it in that you have

  to disregard some applications I mean

  and I'm I hired when I was working at

  the bank

  I used to hire as well as part of what I

  did it was the same thing there as well

  it's like some people you just like I

  can read this and feel like I have a

  good sense of the type of person you are

  and you're not the type of person I want

  for this job and it's like but have I

  really looked at it in detail

  unfortunately not but this kind of

  nothing you can do about it

  so sympathies to anybody applying for

  jobs it is horrible

  but anyway it really is the interesting

  thing I probably could have predicted

  this but it's good to know that whilst

  it is all great to have to do less work

  of my own right so I have somebody who's

  able to take work away from me and do it

  for me that's actually not the value the

  value is less aggravation I have less I

  find myself being less annoyed

  because there's this thing I have to do

  right I am able to move around some of

  the tasks that are less enjoyable or

  just things I've done too many times you

  know like there was some weekly tasks

  right which I've been doing for three

  years every single week and it was like

  a spreadsheet based tasks and so I get

  no joy out of this anymore I used to

  enjoy it but I don't like it anymore and

  I could sit down to do it on like a

  Sunday evening or a Monday morning and

  it was like oh here we go again right

  and being able to pass that stuff away I

  have way less tasks that I have roll my

  eyes at now and that has been a

  wonderful result of my yearly theme is

  it is not basically it's like a year of

  less comma work slash annoyance and

  that's very great right the other thing

  that I did as part of my year of less

  was time tracking and that ended up

  becoming a thing that I would eventually

  start doing was like tracking my time

  and the benefit for me is that time

  tracking has had and continues through

  highlight areas that I was spending too

  much time in right everybody like all

  here are the things I'm spending too

  much time in this blah blah blah blah

  blah but it hasn't again that that was

  what I expected would be the case right

  like oh it would tell me the things I'm

  spending too much time in and then I

  would stop doing so many of those things

  right that was my initial thought that

  was my hypothesis in the same way that

  like hiring an assistant means I will do

  less work but the result has actually

  been time tracking has helped me

  highlight how much work I actually do

  and those numbers make me feel

  psychologically better because anybody

  that runs their own business especially

  but anybody that is very invested in the

  work that they do the can can get into a

  situation where it's on your mind all

  the time yeah so you feel like you're

  working 24 hours a day so to be able to

  look at graphs and chance and say like

  Oh on Monday I actually only worked for

  five hours not 23 there is like a sigh

  psychological benefit in that for me

  where I don't feel like I'm as busy

  anymore because I actually have some

  stuff that I can point to yeah I think

  the phrase you used earlier in the year

  talking about this was was that you can

  talk back to your mind and I think

  that's that's a great that's a great

  phrase because it's when your brain

  thinks that you've been way busier than

  you actually are it's you know it's busy

  releasing all of the stress home

  hormones and worries that are related to

  that and it's it's a way to try to

  calibrate your brain to say I guess

  we're we're busy but it's not what you

  think it is brain so you can chill out

  we don't need to be at 11 on the anxiety

  meter of all the stuff that needs to get

  done we can take it back to a much more

  reasonable level and here's a

  spreadsheet that you can look at which

  proves this to you so I think that's a

  that's a really good point about the

  time tracking you know the service that

  we both use toggle they have good

  they're pretty good reports and when the

  Year ticked over a mutual friend

  Federico 40g he tweeted he's like he

  tweeted his graph right like his pie

  chart to show like how his workers per

  glass a good idea so I looked at mine

  and I again always find interesting

  things 50% of my working time in 2017

  was spent editing podcasts whilst 25%

  was recording this is not a surprise to

  me because I a some projects don't take

  twice the amount of time they take to

  record but some take four or five times

  right depending on what the the show is

  and what I'm doing and when I mean I

  kind of shared this online as well so

  thought it was very interesting and I

  had a few people reach out to me

  offering their editing services right

  mmm and it was like it is interesting

  that that is what people take from it

  they see that and they're like oh you

  must want to do less of it but I don't

  really like that's not what that means

  it's like okay I see it's 50% of my time

  but I consider that time valuable right

  and there have been projects in 2017

  that I have handed over to

  else I am just about to hand over

  another show to be edited by somebody

  else which is great because it's

  probably one that what I know this

  person can do it very well and there's

  no need for me to continue doing it

  anymore specifically so it's fine right

  I can hand that one over but I'm not

  dying to do that for any of the projects

  that I'm currently doing because we work

  with some very talented editors we have

  a few people that we work with real AFM

  who we give these projects to so I know

  there are people that can do it but I

  don't feel like I need to I want to like

  I think people look at some of like they

  look at podcast editing or they look at

  some tasks and they're like oh that's

  just like monkey work right you don't

  want to do that but I make podcasts

  that's my job like that's what I do and

  part of that is the editing of them so

  it's like would as someone's like all

  you do 25% of your time is spent hosting

  a show you should give I should do that

  for you right like I can take some of

  that time away for you and it's like

  well no right it's but it's the same

  thing to me and I think you would agree

  rightly you could hand over the editing

  of all of your shows but you choose not

  to it's it's something you can get help

  along the way but you still want to be

  involved in it yeah and like what you

  would you ideally want having brought on

  the assistant is to see that in the pie

  chart of your working life that a larger

  percentage of it is being made of what

  are the like the core value producing

  yep activities that you engage in and

  the editing is an example of something

  that it's like invisible work all right

  when a show is well edited people are

  not aware of it and so people can easily

  think of something like that as oh you

  can just have somebody else do that but

  for some of the shows that you work on

  they're like the the the voice of this

  show or the particular way that things

  come out is is really dependent on

  exactly the Edit I have to say I am a

  little bit surprised at though at the

  ratio of your editing time versus

  recording so I was surprised about it I


  but like I see it and I'm like okay

  right like it was a surprise to me but

  it's like if that's what it takes that's

  what he takes I mean okay I also say

  like bug us editing also includes all of

  the posting and all that sort of stuff

  so we can add a little bin one time on

  every time right like you know it might

  add like 15 minutes on every single time

  okay that makes more that makes more

  sense though actually in that ratio it

  includes everything that happens from

  the moment I open logic to the moment

  that the show is posted right Lee

  includes all of that stuff I had like a

  show posting thing for a while but it

  just seemed silly to me because it was

  just stopped one time I start another

  timer because by and large I post a show

  immediately after he's finished editing

  typically right like I don't have many

  shows that that's not the case so I kind

  of just leave that one that one thing so

  I mean the ratio I actually was kind of

  happy with that it's like I start with

  preparation double the amount of

  preparations into recording and then

  double the amount of recording is into

  editing it was like okay like that's

  that's interesting that's kind of how it

  breaks down for me so yeah I feel like

  all kind of worked out yeah I was just I

  was just pulling up my own report shows

  curious to see and of course this is

  it's not entirely fair but I was looking

  at with cortex like what is the ratio of

  preparation and editing versus recording

  time and mine is a lot closer to 5050

  but that's because I'm able to out I

  think about the farm out most of the

  work of producing cortex do you Mike but

  I was just kind of curious to see to see

  what it is that it's that for me the

  ratio on this show is a lot closer to

  5050 for how much time is recording

  versus how much time is involved in in

  absolutely everything else yeah and I

  guess it's worth mentioning that a vast

  percentage of my cast recording time is

  cortex that's I wasn't gonna ask but I

  figured that this is I know that this is

  the bulk of the work yeah in terms of in

  terms of any particular show how much

  time do you spend and I know that I

  place a heavy editing burden on you Mike

  and I apologize for that

  there is no I said as many times there's

  no apology needed like I am

  to do it because the show it all works

  out right like the time that I put into

  it the compensation works great like

  it's fine like I'm happy too like if the

  show is this show had like five hundred

  people that listen to it I wouldn't do

  this right but but it all works out at

  the end of the day so like I'm fine with

  it right like it all works out but it

  says the other thing like looking back

  on the year for you of trying time

  tracking like do you like you said with

  this show you feel like the amount of

  time you spend on it and the reward you

  get from it is is comparable do you feel

  like now with a year's worth of data

  that tracks well across all of your

  projects like do you feel that your

  projects get the amount of time that

  they deserve or do you feel like there's

  stuff that's over or under served I

  think by and large I am happy with the

  balance of my stuff especially because

  you know I've seen some of those things

  go down so some of again so I'm gonna

  put a link to this image in the show

  notes so people can see it and give a

  bit of color around a couple of things

  so you know you can see some of these

  things are self-explanatory right

  editing recording sure preparation

  sponsor booking that is like when we

  have a sponsor and we're inputting all

  of their information and dealing with

  contracts and stuff like that and also

  contacting new people it's all of that

  kind of stuff

  sponsor aftercare that's just a phrase

  that I made up that just means like

  answering questions and working on

  things that people need right so like

  you know our sponsors might need certain

  things that decreased significantly for

  me as the year went on because this was

  a lot of stuff that we handed over to my

  assistant is the aftercare stuff so like

  dealing with people's queries and

  questions and stuff like that the one

  that was really surprised about was hi

  how highly the Mac stories project I was

  just looking at this the fact that Mac

  stories even registers is a thing for

  the whole year is hilarious to me that

  was the production of the audiobook that

  I put together it was a significant

  portion of my year so that was a big

  surprise it taught me some some things

  to think about for the future if I'm

  ever going to do that kind of thing

  again because it also went higher than

  it's a real AFM general

  is typically whenever me and Steven have

  calls about the company I did less of

  that in time in the entire year.then

  working on the audio book so that was

  fun that was a fun thing to say but the

  overall balance of this list I am I have

  no immediate need to change any of it I

  am happy with it I did look by the way

  and cortex accounts for 10% of the

  overall editing time mmm which I okay so

  10 10% of that 50% yeah 10% of the of

  the 50% so it was about it was about 70

  to 80 hours right now that's interesting

  because I mean our show is effectively

  one every three to four weeks pretty

  much on that no no it no it's this wave

  more frequent than that it's no no it's

  about three because it used to be every

  two weeks most of the years one every

  month like a 2017 so we're about three

  weeks I would say is fine but every

  other show I do by and large is weekly I

  have a couple of fortnightly shows so

  10% of that overall thing is significant

  right there are some significant snows

  so that we're getting really into the

  weeds now but time tracking was very

  good because now I am able to value my

  doing nothing time significantly more

  mmm I don't feel like when I'm doing

  nothing when I am playing stardew valley

  I am not like I'm not working I'm not

  working I've not done enough today I

  don't worry about that stuff anymore

  because I have a much greater sense for

  how long it takes me to take care of my

  work and right it turns out it's not 15

  hours a day

  it's more like six or seven right that's

  typically my work amount in during a day

  but it's spread throughout the day right

  so it feels like the work day begins at

  8:00 and ends at 2:00 because my work

  happens at chunks throughout the day but

  once I got a better handle on how my

  time was spent which I did this year I

  was a time able to value everything more

  than before so that has been a great

  great goal for me a great thing

  to achieve yeah I think that that is I

  mean they're sort of jumping ahead a

  little bit this does tie into some of my

  own thoughts for the the previous year

  but yeah being able to being able to

  turn a bunch of that doing nothing time

  mentally from from like a like a guilty

  pleasure into no I'm just doing this and

  it's fine is a big psychological

  advantage and pick it is difficult for

  everybody but it is also especially

  difficult if you're a self-employed like

  this is the thing that I just when I

  talk to people who are self-employed is

  it is a constant refrain that it can be

  so you have so much that is under your

  control but it can be very difficult to

  enjoy your free time because there is

  this endless list of things that could

  in theory be done so it's it's really

  great to hear that that the time

  tracking is helping you feel like you

  have evidence to show your brain that

  you've done stuff you have a good

  estimate of how long things take you and

  then that that makes your doing nothing

  a relaxing time more able to be valued

  in in the moment so that that sounds

  like a really great improvement and

  another thing that I was even surprised

  to discover so I have no idea I don't

  know if anybody cares enough to pay

  attention to this kind of thing mm-hmm

  but I I would say this is probably a

  surprise for anybody that does pay

  attention including myself for the first

  time it may be my entire podcasting

  career 2017 was the first time that I

  have not launched a new show that I have

  been a part of I find this totally

  shocking I couldn't believe it I like I

  found it out by accident because I was

  for some other purposes I was looking at

  all of the shows that we've launched in

  2017 and I realized I'm not on any of

  them yeah yeah when you mentioned this

  to me I felt like it blew my mind

  I don't know surely you're wrong surely

  you're wrong but I'm not wrong I this is

  the first time ever and I was like wow

  this is a big surprise to me how do you

  feel about that what it tells me is that

  I internalized

  two-year theme I have had ideas that

  I've just not done because that's adding

  more right

  a new show is adding more and I mean I

  had some projects that I've been working

  on in 2017 that I killed at the last

  minute because I came to realize how

  much work they would have taken and I

  didn't believe that the valley would

  would be there ultimately evil

  creatively or financially so I decided

  not to go through with them and this

  isn't a thing so when we talk about my

  next yearly theme it is building on what

  I learned and how I think to go forward

  from it but this was a big surprise to

  me because I really do believe that this

  is the first time in seven years that I

  have not launched a new show in like an

  ADEA period

  so I think that that tells me that the

  year of less theme was was a significant

  success because I internalized something

  and basically stopped myself from this

  habit that I have built up over the last

  seven years of every time I have an idea

  I just do it so I was pretty proud I was

  pretty happy to see that it's it may

  sound like a strange thing to do but but

  I I feel like I am so congratulatory

  towards you on that because it is really

  hard not to just go with all of the new

  projects and especially when you when

  you have the power to make those

  projects happen nobody's right yeah no

  exactly it's like nobody can stop you

  which is the best and the worst part of

  it right like you would you want to do a

  new project like there's nobody to stop

  you and and it's always like the new the

  new project is always more exciting than

  the current current project right it's

  always like ooh this new project so

  exciting is turning my head it's like

  well you know but it takes it takes a

  lot of recognition and ability to do not

  pursue all of those things so yeah

  whenever was you told me a couple weeks

  ago that you hadn't you know

  new show in 2017 and I just found it

  mind-blowing but I really do think it's

  great and I would also suspect that this

  is this is partly a better ability on on

  your part after having done this for

  many years to have a sense of what a

  potentially good payoff for a project is

  or isn't yeah when you're when you're

  newer it makes more sense to just like

  try a bunch of stuff and see what what

  sticks on the wall but you know now now

  that you are an established podcast

  person you have an established podcast

  network and you now have a better sense

  of the value of your time it makes less

  sense to go off on a whole bunch of new

  projects like they can be damaging in a

  way and you also probably have a better

  internal mental compass about what are

  the valuable directions to go in and and

  not everything that occurs to you that

  seems like a great idea one week is is a

  good way to go

  the following week yeah like I've made a

  conscious effort that if I have an idea

  and begin on it

  I don't launch it quickly like I spend I

  have I have mean we've had shows that we

  even have artwork for that will never be

  used now I've seen some of that art

  we've seen some it's very nice it's

  wonderful it's actually one of my

  favorites ever but no one's ever gonna

  see it don't ask you won't see it sorry

  maybe I'll use it for something one day

  and if I ever use it then I'll tell you

  that that's what it that it was for the

  secret project but it was just the look

  I I kind of let it just a a little bit

  and decided that no I don't think this

  is the right thing for me to do so I've

  had a few things like that this year and

  I think it's been of great benefit and

  an essay it ties him to my 2018 theme

  which was all about in a bit because I

  still have I had a lot of things I love

  stuff to say this time

  halfway through 2017 I started my second

  yearly theme which will run until June

  of this year which is the year of

  positivity slash optimism I refer it to

  both things I can never remember which

  one it is but we'll call it the year of

  optimism right and it follows the Apple

  calendar year it follows the Apple

  calendar year so WWDC to WWDC so much of

  my life is focused around talking about

  technology with a significant focus on

  Apple anybody listens to this show knows

  that and 2015 to 2016 to 2017 there was

  a decline in overall excitedness amongst

  people that care about Apple products

  there was a lot more frustrations and

  they ever had been and this really

  culminated in the beginning of 2017 it

  was just a bad time there were no new

  products everyone was happy no matter

  what you liked there was nothing for you

  yeah I still think of this period of

  time in my mind as the the Apple Valley

  of darkness we were wondering it was a

  very it was a dark time if you cared

  about this stuff it was a dark time

  because everything that happened was not

  good then WWDC 2017 was like the apology

  year and everybody got something it was

  Tim Cook turned into Oprah and everyone

  got something right there was something

  under everybody's seat and we all got

  the thing that we wanted so I decided to

  make a concerted effort which I'm still

  working on that I would try and be more

  positive and optimistic when talking

  about technology because that's what I

  enjoy I actually don't like being mad

  about it I like to enjoy it that's why I

  talk about it's not fun so I've been

  focusing on that and of course you slip

  every now and then but the overall

  feeling is that it's gonna be cool and

  we're gonna enjoy it and it's gonna be

  great so I'm happier to talk about this

  stuff on shows now because I'm generally

  more happy about it so that was that's

  my theme so my theme for 2017 and I'm

  very happy with them yeah I feel like

  the the year of positivity at least from

  my subjective experience was it was good

  it's good timing and also sort of like

  good for your mental health because yeah

  it's like yeah I also listen to a bunch

  of these shows like the same shows that

  you listen to words like everybody's

  wandering through this valley of

  Darkness together and like yeah it is it

  is terrible but at a certain point you

  just get tired of listening to everybody

  talk about how stuff is terrible even

  when like I too am there in the valley

  of darkness like

  talking about how things suck as well

  right like we're all here together but

  the this is one of these things where

  like for mental health sometimes you

  have to take a little bit of a like a

  revaluation and say like yeah stuff

  sucks but I'm gonna try to force through

  a thing and happiness is one of those

  those funny

  those funny topics like it's a where you

  you can make things better through it

  through like a playing tricks on

  yourself and in in some ways like

  deciding that you're going to be you're

  going to have a more positive outlook on

  stuff you can make that start to occur

  and I think it also happened to be great

  timing and a good time to start it with

  the 2017 WWDC but yeah I'm very glad

  that were past that part and I have to

  say as a listener to your shows I was

  always glad when when you were doing the

  the year positivity and I feel like

  there were a few moments where it really

  came through they're like oh there's

  Mike being positive about stuff like I

  can hear him doing it and as a listener

  I was appreciative saying it's a mental

  health thing is a really good point

  because it was like I was just finding

  myself just being sad about the thing

  that I liked and then having to talk

  about it like three times a week every

  week and it's just like this isn't good

  for my overall feeling so I decided to

  make of change to it and to try and see

  the light side of things it's still a

  battle because I have a lot of opinions

  and sometimes my opinions aren't always

  that things are good but ultimately I've

  been very happy I mean this came out a

  couple of weeks ago when I was talking

  about my mic general contenders in

  technology which you decided to be a

  rain cloud over but we don't have to

  worry about things like that

  my general my general feeling about

  right now is that I'm very I'm very

  happy with my technology right now and I

  feel like I'm still on I'm still on the

  righteous path of the multi pad

  lifestyle even though some people

  decided to leave it so anyway let's talk

  about your incredibly confusing 2017

  theme the year of betrayal I think you

  can't let other people's happiness get

  in the way of your

  today's episode of cortex is brought to

  you in part by our friends hover

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  new project comes with a new website and

  that website needs a wicked call domain

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  and just get the domain for it like what

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  looking back on my my past year and had

  a at a confusing start with a terrible

  name which so I originally was calling

  it the year of Nu and then a listener to

  the show having having heard me try to

  wander through a bad description of what

  I was up to redubbed it's the year of

  redirection as you want actually doing

  anything new so maybe the funny thing is

  in retro I was I was going through this

  morning getting ready for the show and I

  was going through all of my records from

  the year and looking stuff over

  and it's funny to me because actually

  calling it the year of knew slash

  redirection is actually perfect because

  there were like a bazillion new things

  this year it just it just so happens

  that this stuff isn't really public

  facing to people but your year of new

  slash redirection actually ended up

  being just a perfect name for the year

  but while I was while I was going

  through the year I was thinking of it as

  the year of redirection and what this

  what this meant for me was trying to

  think more deliberately about how I am

  spending my time like what what things

  maybe have too much time where are some

  areas where I should spend more time in

  a different way than I that I currently

  was and part of this part of this was

  that going into 2017 I feel like I was

  dealing with a little bit of burnout so

  I was trying to think about how can I

  arrange my working life in a different

  way or how can I do a bunch of things in

  a different way in that upcoming year

  there is a little bit of a funny thing

  talking about this year because I

  realized that this again is one of these

  funny moments where I feel like I'm

  coming up against this this this edge of

  like being a private person who makes

  his living in a very public way and also

  there was just a bunch of stuff that

  happened business-wise that doesn't make

  sense really to talk about in a public

  way so I it's funny because it's like I

  had all of this stuff happen and I

  redirected a bunch of my energy and time

  on various projects but so I'm gonna

  have to talk about this in like kind of

  a high-level way but I'm aware of that

  because there's a bunch of places where

  it's like I just I just don't either

  want to or it doesn't make sense really

  to go into the details the lazer shock

  business is booming Mike don't tell

  people about the losers the volcano

  where extraction companies just it's

  working excellently you joke but you're

  closer than you think

  I'm still convinced that you are trying

  to build an office building I am

  convinced that this I absolutely 100% I

  believe that you are trying to build an

  office complex but this is

  these are the felt I'd love to do it but

  I've got to finish my clothing assembly

  line first right like there's only so

  much only so many industries and

  factories you can it's totally true but

  yeah so so there's a bunch of stuff

  which is not obvious to people but like

  one of the things that people who pay

  very close attention to the numbers

  would notice is like a thing that I

  decided to do which you were sort of

  referencing earlier is I very

  intentionally at the beginning of 2017

  decided to crank down my podcast output

  just a little bit so if someone is going

  through like how many episodes were

  published he's month you were joking

  about there being more cortex misses but

  they're totally were and that was that

  was a very intentional decision on my

  part this was something that we

  discussed and we worked out a good plan

  for the year and I think we were but I

  was very happy with the the output of

  the last year's shows as well and yeah

  it was less but I don't I actually think

  it was a positive impact on the show

  overall yeah and I have to say you you

  were great to work with during this time

  because like it's it is it is this like

  one person is saying like I want to pull

  back 15% right over the course of the

  year and it's like well it's a

  partnership like we work on this thing

  together but you you were great with

  this and so that was one of the big

  things with with the year of a

  redirection for me was like this was one

  area where I thought the podcasts are

  great they're a great way for me to

  spend my time but I was also aware of

  like man I have this little bit of a

  feeling of burnout that it's like every

  week there is a show to do and I need to

  have a few more times in the year where

  it's like okay I have one or two weeks

  in a row where there's no podcasts and I

  think this is this is the case of of

  being like being an introverted person I

  always do find that the podcasts are

  quite mentally draining in this very

  particular way and I just needed some

  little bit more time to like recoup from

  that that was a case where year of

  redirection was was great like just

  pulling back a little bit like I said

  about 15% was was fantastic and is one

  of these cases where it's like okay I'm

  taking a small hit business-wise but I'm

  getting a massive improvement like

  psychologically like I feel much better

  about this and I also think it made the

  shows genuinely better as well to have

  like more breaks I would say from my

  perspective less shows meant that I

  could prepare better for all of them so

  like the things that we were talking

  about and themes like I I was happier

  with our 2017 output than our 2016

  output because I have more time to come

  up with ideas and it is worth noting

  that this year will probably be pretty

  similar sometimes there's one sometimes

  it's two and that's kind of just how

  we're gonna be going forward because it

  fits into both of our schedules really

  nicely because in case you'd never

  guessed we travel quite a lot and

  sometimes it can be a nightmare for us

  to align our travel schedules like that

  is an example of the thing where in one

  way it sounds like an easy and easy

  thing to say like oh I'm just gonna pull

  back a little bit but I did this across

  like all of my various business

  endeavors was trying to pull back like

  15% like across the board and everything

  I'm involved with like in everything

  that I do and that ended up being like a

  whole year long project and it was like

  a very carefully managed thing and

  trying to like balance a whole bunch of

  inputs and outputs like that that was a

  really big deal but I feel like it was a

  huge success and a big win on my part

  and there were a number of times in the

  year where having that like extra 15

  percent of time really did allow me to

  redirect efforts and energy into other

  things that came up or things that ended

  up being new endeavors of one kind or

  another so it was it was really great

  for me and I'm so glad I did it but I

  remember at the beginning of 2017 like I

  was looking back through my my initial

  planning now it sounds like man I was

  really worried that it was

  make 2017 just a total disaster that

  little bit of a pull back but it didn't

  it was it was really a really a great

  decision a disaster in what way like

  I've never had things on regular

  schedules obviously but I feel like

  there's got to be some kind of minimum

  threshold below which you go that it it

  starts turning bad like and I was

  worried like maybe I'm closer to

  whatever that minimum threshold is then

  I thought and going like 15% less will

  bring me below that threshold but it

  turned out that's not the case so it's

  like everything keeps growing and like

  like we said the show was actually doing

  better than they were before so I was

  just worried like how close am I to the

  edge of too infrequent and maybe I'm way

  closer to that edge than I think but so

  now it worked out great and like I said

  for me personally it was really great

  and it was really important during a

  couple of times in the year in

  particular yeah so that that is like one

  of the most public facing ways that

  people can see something is different in

  in the year of redirection but you

  brought up you brought up travel Mike

  and this is where I feel like the year

  of new is is a thing because this past

  the amount of travel that I did exploded

  it just exploded in this totally

  unexpected way and I feel I feel like

  here's here's the best way I can because

  I was looking at like how much time I've

  spent in airports this year which is

  like phenomenal time but the thing that

  really the thing that really hit home

  which just happened yesterday was at the

  beginning of the year I sort of knew

  that I was going to be doing a bunch

  more traveling I had a vague idea that

  this was a thing that was going to

  happen in the year and I was talking to

  a friend of mine about it and he

  convinced me to sign up for one of the

  airline reward programs I was like I

  don't know if I should like who cares

  I'm just one point it's wild to me I

  can't believe

  come one well I just thought it was dumb

  right and and front and also like for

  most of my life the amount of traveling

  that I did was very little and it

  wouldn't really have mattered but so I

  signed up at the beginning of the year

  and you know when you sign up so I

  signed up with British Airways and it's

  like they send you a card and I'd like

  welcome to the peasant class of rewards

  right you get nothing except this card

  which now says that you're in are you're

  at the bottom of our caste system and

  I'm like whatever

  so yesterday I'd literally got a golden

  envelope in the mail right the gold

  muffler was a great thing to get from

  British Airways yeah that I opened up I

  had like tissue paper and and this fancy

  thick paper and like they're like

  welcome to the golden God class of

  travel so I I have been on virgin for

  the last couple years and I've gone

  through that mm-hmm that whole thing but

  I had to take a few flights with BA this

  year because virgin didn't serve some

  places so I lost my gold status by like

  just a hair I lost it so I'm now

  switching over to be a because I've done

  bas before they're their progression

  through their system is much better like

  you get more for less with them so yeah

  I I'm going through that right now and

  probably by the end of the year I might

  get the gold because I have a lot of

  travel on ba this year including like

  all my honeymoon stuff so I think we're

  gonna be good yeah but it's like I have

  to say that when I got that golden

  envelope it was a real mixed feelings

  moment it was like oh god this is a

  physical manifestation of the subjective

  feeling like I feel like I've travelled

  a lot this year as like no here is

  manifest proof that the amount of travel

  I have done has just exploded like I

  counted up like even just just in the

  summer I think in the space of six weeks

  I stepped on ten planes like it was some

  crazy number like the whole summer of

  travel was was especially explosive and

  then this year was was on top of that

  and this feels like

  a really new and very different thing in

  my life and it was also the case that

  had I not cut back on some other work

  stuff that would the combination of

  increased business travel plus

  maintaining the previous year's schedule

  that really would have been a disaster

  because we we certainly ran into enough

  times this year of just trying to

  coordinate both of our schedules that it

  was it was really hard or we were really

  running up against some very narrow

  windows of time we live in the same town

  but I think we have seen each other more

  this year overseas oh yeah yeah without

  a doubt that that is the case it's it's

  been an interesting it's been an

  interesting experience and I also feel

  like travel I've traveled so much I have

  become a very fundamentally different

  person with travel I'm now I'm now the

  kind of person who doesn't have a lot of

  stress cutting it real close getting to

  an airport I'm so I don't think I'm ever

  gonna get there I never thought I would

  be there either but I've I have become

  that guy my thing is now I don't think

  about the fact that I'm gonna be getting

  on a plane very much before I do it

  right like I know that like before I

  started traveling a bunch of times every

  year like thinking that I'm about to get

  on a plane to go to America or whatever

  was like a big thing that was in my mind

  for a bit right but now it's kind of

  just like I'll pack but I'm not really

  thinking about it and I packed the day

  before and then I just wake up and go to

  the airport like it's like going to get

  such a terrible thing to say I guess but

  it's like going to get a train now

  because I fly so much right and and the

  reason we both do this is basically

  everybody that we work with by and large

  lives in America so there's so many

  businesses that occur which require us

  to be on the other side of the ocean so

  that I do it so many times now that it's

  it's like any kind of form of transport

  which is a way healthier way to consider

  air travel because you don't fret about

  it I always found myself writing about

  it because they there are so many things

  about the process that are meant to make

  you fret about it

  and I'm now happier that I don't need to

  do that yeah I agree there's a lot of

  travel threading that is gone part of

  that is being part of a members rewards

  program which has which has advantages

  like for me a huge psychological

  advantage is being able to pick a seat

  further and further ahead in time so

  it's like I know I really do not want to

  be penned in in a in a window seat on an

  airplane if I can possibly avoid it and

  so like get it getting an aisle seat is

  extraordinarily psychologically

  important to me when I'm flying and so

  being able to like book and get that way

  in advance makes a big difference but

  yeah also just like the pure familiarity

  with travel has has definitely decreased

  the amount of fretting and has made some

  things possible which would have been a

  huge a huge deal like an inconceivably

  large deal otherwise and I'll just I'll

  briefly relay a story that I feel like

  encompasses the entirety of of my travel

  year but I had traveled so much this

  year that come December I had decided

  there's going to be no more travel I

  cannot do any more flights it's too much

  it's all too disruptive I don't want I

  don't want to do it and it's like that's

  one of the reasons why I was really

  interested in going to pod con but I was

  like I can't get on one more plane

  because it's I've just flown too much

  this year and it's a long one it takes a

  long getting it to Seattle turns out

  yeah it takes a long time to get to

  Seattle but I was thinking like oh but I

  can stay in great master time it'll all

  be fine right as I ever start trying to

  scheme it out but the rational part of

  my brain said like too many flights dude

  you just can't do this decide that there

  is a travel veto on December no more

  traveling and I decided it and I thought

  okay that's great and then four reasons

  for make sense that I can't go into the

  details we'll just say that this is one

  of the the many problems of being a

  self-employed dual citizen we're one of

  those citizenships is America America

  makes it real difficult for

  self-employed people living abroad but

  it turned out I found out on Christmas

  Eve that I needed to go to America to

  sign a document before the end of the

  year and so I ended up

  at the very last minute between

  Christmas and New Year's buying a plane

  ticket to go to America for 36 hours to

  return and fly back before New Year's

  and while like that was an enormous pain

  in the ass

  there was a part of me which because I

  had done so much travel I was like you

  know what I can just deal with this

  right it's not it was not something I

  wanted to do but had I not done a ton of

  flying otherwise that would have been a

  incredible psychological problem but I

  was but but I just I just had this

  feeling of resignation of like I guess

  I'm going to America for 36 hours to

  sign a single piece of paper that had

  before at the end of the calendar year

  like okay here I go yeah that really

  summed up a difference in you like and I

  noticed it because we were chatting over

  Christmas mm-hm and I knew I was seeing

  you over the New Year's period and you

  told me that you were getting on a plane

  and I was like that's a different man


  what I loved about that though is even

  when I checked in the gate agent looked

  at my ticket and she's like hey come to

  America for 36 hours


  it was totally nuts but I felt like that

  was the perfect encapsulation I decided

  there's no more travel and of course at

  the 11th hour something else comes up

  which is like this is mandatory travel

  you have no option about it like okay

  guess it's gonna happen so I feel like

  looking back on my past year the the

  amount of traveled the amount of new

  locations like that is a huge difference

  in in what was occurring over the

  previous year the other major thing

  though which was related to my year of

  new and your redirection was while you

  were doing time tracking for the first

  time last year I was deciding to try to

  time track everything in my life for the

  previous year and I have to say I feel

  like that was also a really great thing

  to do and I've really appreciated

  this I don't know I don't even know how

  to phrase it but I feel like there is I

  don't know how to say this in a way

  that's not gonna sound to people like

  it's a bad thing because I mean it's I

  mean it in a very good way but I feel

  like having done this for a long period

  of time of trying to keep track of not

  just working hours but also like leisure

  time or socializing time or any any kind

  of time I really have like a mental

  clock in my head that is running and

  that will that will sound bad to people

  but what I mean by it is I feel like

  it's established a real kind of in the

  moment presence in a lot of the things

  that I do so like again like so the

  worst way that people would think about

  is like if I'm socializing with someone

  I do keep track of my socializing time

  but it's not like I'm there on my watch

  and it's like oh god how much time am i

  spending with this person bleep bloop

  ten personality points allocated yeah

  it's it's much more this feeling of like

  I have decided to spend time with this

  person and I'm going to be as mentally

  here in the moment as I possibly can be

  and I feel like this is this is a mental

  improvement that has been booted up in

  my brain by trying to always have a

  timer running in the background so that

  I'm just time tracking my entire life so

  I feel like it has made me much more

  present focused then then would

  otherwise than would otherwise be the

  case so I'm I would not recommend that

  everybody do this thing that I have done

  like I really think it is on the edge of

  crazy to try to time track an entire

  life but I have found it really good and

  it has it has been a worthwhile thing to

  do after having already been four years

  familiar with the idea of doing just

  time tracking around more

  specific activities yeah I I think I

  have an example of this too because

  because I do

  ultimately think that what you do is way

  more than I would want to do but once

  you get into time tracking as a concept

  that exists in your life you're able to

  apply it some different things so as is

  always with human beings I am trying to

  make a more concerted effort of taking

  care of my health and right now that is

  meaning to exercise more now I'll give

  you a fact about my curly my curly hates

  exercise I have tried so many different

  things I have never ever enjoyed

  physical activity I didn't enjoy being

  in school I just don't I for whatever

  reason I'm not good at any of it and I

  don't like it but it's just how I am I

  that I do not get a good feeling from

  going to the gym no matter what I do I

  just don't I know that this is something

  that people get and whatever and

  endorphins and blah blah blah I never

  get a good feeling out of it yeah those

  people that's my feeling exactly the

  only type of activity that I enjoy is

  swimming I like to swim I'm pretty

  decent at it I enjoy it

  and it's I believe to be a pretty good

  workout now the problem problem that I

  have is that there where I live there

  are not a lot of places I can swim so I

  have to travel somewhere to go to a pool

  and travel back and the problem that I

  was seeing was I believed that it was

  taking too much time for me to complete

  this activity and it was eating into my

  days to significantly so I decided to

  time track it I was like let's find out

  shall I like it I've had this feeling a

  bunch before so let's find out I was

  right it was taking too much time so I

  have optimized some of the travel to and

  from the place that I'm going to so like

  I've tried to find ways to cut down the

  travel time and to build it in two days

  differently but I got the answer that I

  needed from actually doing some

  real-time tracking to see how many hours

  this thing was taking you know I was

  finding that it was taking me like

  three hours to do 45 minutes of swimming

  right well that's not good is it right

  like that's not efficient so I've found

  ways to cut that down by like a third so

  it's like okay so let me try and see how

  I can

  I can

  can build this in some yeah that that's

  just something like a an example of when

  you get into the time tracking mindset

  you can use real data to prove theories

  or disprove theories and then action

  upon them that's that's what the benefit

  for me is of seriously time tracking but

  I am NOT I am NOT of the inclination to

  to do what you do yeah like I don't want

  to track the time that I spend playing

  Nintendo like I don't I don't need to

  see that right like I'm good let's just

  assume that all of the time that isn't

  what time is spent playing Nintendo and

  then was good you ever see this this is

  why I like doing the whole lifetime

  tracking because a thing that we when we

  get to what are themes for the next year

  are I'll talk a little bit about more

  but it does then if you're trying to do

  the whole life tracking there is there

  is data in like the missing data and

  that's an interesting thing to look at

  is to say like oh when you know I'm

  awake 16 hours a day and like but how

  many hours did I actually get in the day

  and then that that missing piece becomes

  an interesting piece of data of like

  where did that time go or why is it that

  during this week or this month I was

  clearly way worse at time tracking than

  than other times and so I like having

  that because I feel like there is this

  sense of like information in the

  negative space of the time tracking if

  you're trying to be really complete in

  in what's occurring but we can talk more

  about that later but I mean I guess I'll

  just say that the year of new in the

  year redirection was sort of vague much

  more vague than the year of less was for

  me which I'm where there's really

  precise meaning but I still feel like a

  lot of what I was trying to do I did I

  feel much better about my work-life

  balance there were some things last year

  that made me think about like I just how

  I how I spend like family time I wanted

  to try to increase that like that is

  definitely a thing that I accomplished

  you know there were a bunch of just like

  new things that I did new experiences

  like there's some new business ventures

  like there's

  but there was a bunch of like new stuff

  that was great because I had been able

  to redirect how I spent some of my -

  yeah into those new things I asked the

  balance like it wasn't that you was

  necessarily seeking out these new things

  but by redirecting your time new things

  could but could come to you it's kind of

  like if that is the way I think that you

  ended up balancing out cuz I don't know

  if you necessarily set out the year to

  be like I need some new business

  ventures don't necessarily that was what

  you were thinking like when you open up

  space the thing to become available so I

  feel I feel like that was that was

  really good I guess in some ways I feel

  like I had much more of the advantages

  and fewer of the disadvantages of being

  a self-employed person during the year

  of redirection like I think that's

  that's largely what happens like I did

  some analysis I did like a like an 80/20

  analysis of where where are the pain

  points in my life and where are the

  benefit points in my life and realized

  that was a little bit off and worked to

  reduce the things that were causing pain

  and increase the number of things which

  were causing enjoyment so I feel like

  that that's the summation of like your

  redirection ended up being the year that

  I was able to benefit more from being a

  self-employed person than I had in

  previous years yeah cuz you could do

  whatever you wanted right there was more

  of that feeling of like I can I can pick

  and choose and do the things that I want

  to do without the feeling of like I am

  bound into the things that I must do

  there was kind of a bit more flexibility

  in there yeah I mean I always think this

  that there's a it's a thing I think I

  see with a lot of people and it's very

  natural for it to happen but it's like a

  phrase but there's like there's this way

  that being successfully self-employed

  you can end up just building yourself a

  golden cage and I feel like in 2016 I

  came a little close to that edge or

  closer to that edges and I really want

  to be and that's the thing that I'm

  always very conscious of and then like

  2017 was was writing that ship

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  have two themes for 2018 and starting

  out which is also being coupled with my

  theme which is running into a June yeah

  so you're gonna have three overlapping

  themes that's gonna happen oh yeah yeah

  well okay so it will make sense when you

  hear them so so one of the themes of my

  year is the year of adulting I am gonna

  become a serious adult this year is it's

  time to get serious because this year I

  turned 30 years old and I'm getting

  married it's pretty serious yeah I feel

  like these are pretty serious big adult

  things that will occur so that I know

  that's just gonna be a prevailing thing

  in in my life this year I don't believe

  there are any significant actions to it

  but they are just guiding a lot of

  things that are happening so especially

  my wedding

  it is guiding a lot of activity and

  focus this year in in a way that I am

  going to take my foot off the gas a

  little bit more with some work stuff

  this year because I have a very serious

  big event going on so that that's kind

  of a thought and really I don't think

  that it will no one will see it right

  now it's kind of in a way less than what

  you did like I'm not gonna pull back on

  a bunch of stuff but it's just informing

  some things that I'm gonna be doing and

  kind of how I'm gonna be approaching

  some projects that are existing and new

  because I'm gonna be having this this

  this huge thing going on in my life this

  year which I'm very excited about but

  it's obviously gonna make an impact on

  me which is a great thing about being

  self-employed is that I'm able to make

  those decisions right and and it was

  like it was like when I when was buying

  the house and I remember saying on the

  show about like it's like a job of its

  own and I don't know how people I just

  don't know how people do it including me

  I don't know how I did it and it's a

  similar thing like getting married it's

  like a job of its own and that's why

  there is an entire industry of wedding

  planners that exist because it is like a

  big huge project to manage yeah it's a

  giant logistical challenge on many

  levels yeah probably the biggest

  logistical thing that I will have be

  involved with so yeah that's that's

  informing a lot so that's one thing but

  there's there's less kind of actions

  from there and okay so this this might

  sound in contrast to the previous thing

  that I just spoke about but let me try

  and explain 2018 will also be for me the

  year of branching out so

  I have some things that I want to do I

  have some new things that I want to try

  and I want to see if it's something that

  I'm able to do so like one of those

  things is more live shows I love doing

  live shows and but they are there

  they're real bear to arrange and we did

  more in 2017 than we've done in 2016 and

  I want to continue that I don't have any

  handle on what that's gonna be I have no

  plan we have no plan like significant

  plan right now but we want to do more of

  them right so we want a trip we want to

  hopefully do one at wEDC

  this year which we didn't do last year

  so you know no plans but it's just hopes

  and so that is a big thing because it

  doing anytime you add another live show

  into the calendar like it's a it's a big

  logistical challenge and I am very lucky

  in that I have Stephen to manage that

  stuff Stephen is very good at putting

  together live shows my co-founder a

  relay event it's something that he has

  developed in his skill set but for me if

  I'm if I'm involved in hosting them that

  is huge for me so like before I do any

  type of live show I go into an almost

  catatonic state okay I talk to anybody

  and I really get kind of like focused on

  it in a very significant way it like for

  like an hour before I'm like sick I I

  don't even know what it is I don't know

  if it's nerves I don't know where it

  comes from it's I don't know if it's

  stage fright I don't know what it is

  because as soon as we start I'm great

  fine I can do them but I I feel like I

  always need to prepare more and so I

  kind of get into this like zone for a

  while so they're always a lot to do but

  it's something that I get great pleasure

  from when we do them I love doing it so

  we want to try and do more of that

  and then trying new ideas is probably

  the bigger thing for me and I've made

  hints to this in the past that there is

  an idea in my brain which is it is a

  podcast idea I don't I don't know if

  it's ever going to happen because it's

  so different to any

  thing else that I have done but I have

  been stewing on this idea for about six

  months and it won't go away it keeps

  coming good sign

  yeah that that's what like so that's

  that okay so that's one of the big

  things right 2016 Mike would have

  already launched this project right

  right but 2017 Mike learned to wait so

  I'm still sitting on it but it's

  something that I really want to do and I

  saw Hamilton last week in London and

  it's only made it worse

  because Hamilton was created by one

  person and it is this incredible

  incredible thing which I urge anyone to

  go and see if you can because it's

  probably the greatest single piece of

  meteor I've ever consumed it is a tour

  de force I can't believe it here like I

  haven't seen Hamilton I was aware

  whatever was like last year when I first

  came out that I started hearing

  everybody in the world

  talk about an overhype this thing and I

  got like sick of hearing people talk

  about Hamilton and I was like this is

  ridiculous whatever like everybody's

  just like a fad but then I felt like my

  mind was changed because I last year I

  watched Moana and I was like man the

  music in this was just amazing it just

  made this this was so fast like this

  music is great and I thought like this

  is one of the best movie watching

  experiences I've had in a really long

  time and and I did a thing which I never

  do which is like who made this movie

  looked at when it's like Oh turns out

  that the guy who made Hamilton did all

  the music for this I was like ah okay

  maybe this Hamilton thing is worth

  seeing great Hamilton is in London it's

  gonna be here forever please try and get

  tickets to it and I advise anyone to do

  what I did because I think this is great

  don't listen to the music beforehand

  experience who will do that who with so

  many people because honestly you can and

  it's fine and you can get it but see it

  so obviously I am no delusion of

  grandeur here I don't think I can create

  something that is of the scale

  Hamilton ya see that's what I'm hearing

  Mike's gonna make Hamilton - what Mike's

  working on Jefferson right now but it

  was it was just because what what I want

  to do is a big is a big project is a

  huge project it's something I don't know

  if I have the skills or capabilities to

  do but seeing something created by one

  individual is very inspiring to me

  because it's like well it shows that

  people are able to do these types of

  things so maybe I can make something

  that's okay so it it's only basically

  what is happening to me is I have this

  idea and everything is inspiring me

  right so many things I'm seeing alike

  pushing me to be like see you can do

  this stuff people can do this stuff

  maybe you can so it's only feeding the

  flame and yeah people could probably

  guess what I have going on in my mind if

  they pay attention to the clues you if

  you guess it you're probably right

  but it's it's a project that I don't

  know if I had capability to do but 2018

  I will make the decision by the end of

  this year I'll have IVA done it or I'm

  never gonna do it I'm setting that for

  myself it's like you can't keep doing

  this forever if you want to try and make

  a go of this thing you've got to do it

  this year so we'll see that's that's so

  my bigger theme this year is branching

  out trying some new big projects but

  also being mindful of not just trying

  anything and everything that comes to my

  mind like I learned in 2017 well I look

  forward to seeing your enormous project

  at some point we're not coming to coming

  to Broadway but I think that like what

  you just said there is also like a great

  a great point about like deciding that

  you're gonna do this thing or you're

  gonna have to let it go like and exactly

  why you can't just keep having it in the

  back of your mind for forever and I

  think that's a it's an interesting it's

  an interesting point to have with that

  so yeah I wish you I wish you all the

  best of luck with that Mike thank you I

  hope it I hope it turns out

  and all the live shows you're gonna

  arrange that we're gonna do right are

  you gonna how many live shows do you

  want to commit to 1000 committing to

  zero right X World Tour gore-tex World

  Tour how many dates do you have zero so

  what's your theme for 2018 okay so we

  need a little bit of a run-up to this

  because when I was recapping my year

  mostly talking about how it was great

  thank you every direction very happy

  things worked out well but there's an

  alternative name that I could have given

  that year looking in retrospect and I

  think I could have called 2017 standing

  now at the beginning of 2018 the year of

  chaos because what a really bad name to

  give it proactively obviously

  proactively does not the name to give

  the thing but retro actively I think I'm

  going to always think of 2017 as like

  this year of chaos because this year was

  just a year where I felt like I never

  had any real consistent schedule for any

  significant length of time I feel like

  things were just all over the place and

  again I do like to try to verify this

  kind of stuff so when I was like

  reviewing all the documentation I had

  from the previous year the data totally

  bears this out that that last year was a

  year that was just all over the place in

  every metric I can think of and so like

  one of the things I was mentioned before

  about the negative space and time

  tracking I was looking over the year and

  I could see like I want to see how well

  did I do with this time tracking and my

  mental my mental framework is that on a

  on any particular day I should have 12

  hours like 12 hours is the bare minimum

  of competency 14 hours is good and like

  16 hours is the theoretical maximum of

  how much time I would be tracking in a


  and the median day for the whole year

  was like 13 and a half hours which I was

  pretty happy with but if you break it

  down by months some months I'm tracking

  fifteen and a half hours a day like I'm

  doing great and a couple of months

  particularly in the summer and in April

  I've got like six hours a day right like

  total disaster across the board in terms

  of the time tracking and it's like yeah

  I remember those months I remember I

  decided like the hell with this I can't

  possibly do with it all so I just had

  like a string of zero days in a row

  because I'm like I can't I can't

  psychologically deal with this today I

  just got too much and I looked at things

  like records of exercise and like

  records of health and it's like crazy

  lines all over the place of like how

  frequently frequent were you exercising

  it's like crazy or like like things with

  like other health stuff like diet stuff

  it's like okay it's like okay great I

  have this stretch of time where

  everything is perfect numbers really

  focusing on and then it just was ghost a

  total disaster later and like I think a

  huge portion of that was just I am NOT a

  person who was used to the travel so

  it's like I can see that it's like the

  calm pond of my life is totally

  destroyed with ripples and waves every

  time a rock of an airplane is thrown

  into it and it's like this this really

  takes things out of place but even on

  top of that like I can I can just see

  again from the records like I was really

  bad last year about things like weekly

  reviews and trying to stay on top of

  stuff I think it wasn't wasn't helped by

  my like sort of abandoning task managers

  for a while as well which like went into

  this theme of like a year of chaos yes I

  still I honestly still can't get my head

  around that

  like I don't feel like I was ever

  satisfied with the reasoning in which

  you were doing it like yeah it just

  never clicked for me I feel like that

  that was a mistake that you made in the

  year well I think I needed to pull back

  from some of that stuff that that was a

  little bit of like redirection like I'm

  going to just like let this kind of go

  so what I feel like with last year and

  had this this experience where

  high-level things were really great it

  was a really successful year but unlike

  the low level it was totally this this

  like year of chaos so my theme for the

  upcoming year is the year of order that

  there is going to be order in 2018 oh


  yes chaos to order so good

  yeah you've you had a brain wave when

  you came up with that one I like it it's

  been itching it's been under my skin for

  you know maybe since mid-december I

  started was thinking about this because

  as we were coming up to our your themes

  I was like I don't really have a theme

  like I'm just wishing what like whatever

  and as I started to think about I was

  like this is what it is it's the year of

  order is 2018 and I've sort of started

  on this in some ways but there's that

  there's like a sentence in my mind which

  I feel like is this this guiding

  sentence for the year which is like the

  work isn't the work the system is the

  work and so I feel like I've set up a

  bunch of stuff already to try to help

  with it's like okay in the morning like

  you get up in the first thing that you

  do is is the writing and like it doesn't

  matter how much you write her if it's

  good at all because the system is the

  work the work isn't the work like one of

  my real focuses this year is I'm still

  expecting that there's going to be a lot

  of travel like I can already see my

  calendars has a bunch of dates already

  in the future like oh god here we go

  but I think there can be a real

  difference when I'm going I'm going into

  the Year expecting and acknowledging

  like there is going to be travel there

  are going to be disruptions but I cannot

  allow them to be as disruptive as they

  were last year because I feel like last

  year I was really caught off guard by a

  lot of that kind of stuff so for me one

  of the things is like re-establishing a

  very clear schedule and sequence of

  habits to follow like that is one

  the big things for me in the year and

  it's really interesting because I'm

  coming back to you off the off the end

  of a of a gradation off in the snowy

  wastelands meditating on this idea of

  the year of order you're on a leadership

  my wife literally has started to call

  these things that I do she's like you

  going on corporate retreats for one like

  that's what you're doing yeah and I

  guess that is 100 percent the case set

  up a little table name plaques and then

  you move around the table depending on

  what what you need to be talking about

  you know yeah we do we do I mean there's

  there's brainstorming on whiteboards of

  like where's the company going to go for

  the next year how do you build the human

  pyramid but so like here's the thing

  that was interesting to do so I I had

  actually set up as part of the year of

  redirection I had set up in advance this

  period of time at the beginning of 2018

  to be like this

  dedicated great incorporated company

  retreat and because it was really useful

  last year and like I want to do this

  again next year but I was really aware

  that when I do these trips normally I

  can very quickly get into like a great

  schedule and I had a freaking rudl time

  this year forcing my brain back into

  this regular schedule and I was just

  like ah I can see like I'm just not used

  to this because my year has been so

  chaotic that my brain is like bucking

  the idea that we've got a we've got to

  bust out the order again and it was just

  it was an interesting experience to have

  like it's taking me a lot of time to

  force this change and it reminded me of

  back back when I was adulting and when I

  did my teacher training program and

  realize like this is the first thing

  I've ever come up against in my life

  where I can't just slack my way through

  and I actually need to figure out like

  how to organize myself to be able to to

  get things done and I remember that was

  a really difficult mental time of like

  and I'm so used to just sliding on

  through life but suddenly I can't do

  that now and I have to like become a

  different person in order to succeed in

  this endeavor

  so being being on my like corporate

  retreat I was just aware like man this

  is real evidence that the past year has

  been a very chaotic year because this

  thing which is normally not a lot of

  effort for me to do to like click back

  into a regular schedule is actually

  quite hard for me to do like even things

  like waking up at a consistent time in

  the morning like just brutal but it's

  evidenced like when I look at my health

  data like my sleep schedule it's all

  over the place for the past year so

  that's that's a big part of it is this

  idea that like it is the routine like

  the routine is the work the work isn't

  the work and I'm really going to be

  focusing on that a lot that's one of the

  really big things there is a there is

  like a little sub part of the year of

  order which I haven't haven't quite

  figured out precisely what this is yet

  but it comes out of the time tracking

  which is this idea of like a war on

  unintentional 'ti so one of the things

  with time tracking that I actually

  mentioned in that those early episodes

  is I do try to keep track of what I

  think it was like unintentional time

  where I'm doing something but it's not

  really like on purpose I'm not being

  intentional about the thing that I'm

  doing and so I have this idea that like

  part of the year on order there's like a

  sub front which is the war on

  unintentional 'ti and so that that can

  be things like for example social media

  like spending less time on social media

  or the time that I spend on sotell me

  social media is more intentional rather

  than unintentional so that's that's a

  thing like looking over my time tracking

  data is I find the amount of

  unintentional 'ti time registered in the

  last year it's like it's too much I

  don't like it and I feel like I want a

  much higher percentage of the time in my

  life to be intentional versus

  unintentional so that's that's another

  like part of this idea but that part is

  much less wealth

  than just the idea of like 2018 is the

  year of order I'm gonna bring order to

  the world so jealous of your name you

  really went from just like atrocious

  name to excellent name right 2017 was

  just bad name and 2018 is real good name

  but it has to be because I really think

  I could not survive another year of

  redirection like I think I would just I

  would just lose it if I had another

  unstructured year like that the

  redirection year was like a just a

  course correction change you can't do

  that every year forever like that's an

  exam out yucks right like restructuring

  things take some time and you do it once

  and then you do it again in like five

  years time like it would be pointless to

  do what you did last year every year

  because you'd never get anything done

  constantly changing your business but

  not actually producing anything it's not

  really a benefit to that now so anyway

  there we go

  year of order 2018 oh man I just as you

  said that I just got a push notification

  and todoist

  that just says to work on big project

  idea calling to you Mike

  I want to thank fresh books for their

  support of this show please take it upon

  yourself if you are a freelancer to sign

  up for fresh books now is the time I'm

  gonna mention it again it's new year's

  time it's time to make some changes make

  this your yearly theme to get your

  finances in order and one of the ways to

  do that is to sign up for fresh books we

  have been using them for our invoices

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  aggravation and hassle it takes for me

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  to those guessing games it's more than

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  full system if you're not using fresh

  books yet now is the time to try it

  because they are offering an

  unrestricted 30-day free trial for

  core-tex listeners with no credit card

  required just go to fresh books Comstock

  or tax that is fresh books calm slash

  cortex and when it tells you how did you

  hear about them say that you heard about

  them from this very show our thanks to

  fresh books for their continued support

  of the cortex podcast and relay FM so I

  asked from the cortex Twitter account

  which is at underscore cortex FM if

  you're interested in following the

  account for some ask cortex questions

  related to yearly themes we have

  answered throughout the course of this

  conversation a lot of them there were

  actually quite a few a surprising amount

  of people that wanted to know about time

  tracking so there you go you've got it

  right those people those of you who care

  about time tracking you've definitely

  got that conversation this time but

  there were a couple that I wanted to ask

  you and for us to think about Toni asked

  how do your themes inform your use of

  devices and all your favorite apps now I

  could say for me the one of the big

  projects I'm trying to work on requires

  a lot more planning than usually a show

  that I would do requires it means more

  writing to it it needs more thought it

  needs more outlining so I am more

  heavily using notes than I would

  typically I will be using bear more for

  longer pieces of writing and I'm

  thinking about using something like an

  app like mind node which is like a mind

  mapping application to try to scrape out

  some some big things some big

  overarching ideas and to try and get my

  thoughts more compiled so I think that

  because of the way that meaning new work

  the themes always inform the app choices

  because this is how we get our work done

  is with these apps so it does change I

  mean I guess for you year of order will

  mean finally getting your project

  management in check yeah we can talk

  about that on another show yes I'll say

  that there's

  two years ago one of the things that I

  did which I need to do again for a

  variety of reasons is I actually sat

  down with good notes my my favorite

  handwriting app and I was just writing

  out what all of the devices were in my

  life like okay which which iPads and

  computers do I have like where are they

  like what's here's I have a phone I have

  a watch and I just sat down with that

  list for a long time and sort of thought

  very intentionally about what our each

  of these devices for and so I think this

  is a thing that people don't really do

  like they just sort of happen to let

  devices do whatever but I'm a big fan of

  artificial restrictions around devices

  and I'm definitely intending to again

  sit down and really think through like

  what is the minimum viable use for the

  various devices in my life like I'm not

  interested in devices that can do

  absolutely everything all the time I'm

  interested in being really intentional

  about what they can do so when I was

  doing it two years ago part of what I

  was thinking about is like what

  notifications can be seen where and you

  know what devices do I have access to at

  different times in the day and so

  therefore what kinds of things do I want

  to be able to do on them and then

  setting up the devices as much as it was

  possible so that those actions are the

  only things that are possible to do on

  those devices so I feel like the year

  theme fits into that because it's it's

  the idea of what do you want these

  devices to do for you in your life and

  yeah with the year of order I definitely

  have a bunch of restructuring to do with

  all of the devices in my life and

  Jonathan asks what tools or mechanisms

  you use to keep track of your yearly

  themes do you review your progress

  frequently do you do anything like this

  there are things like I have a bunch of

  questions that I kind of work through

  and yeah one of the one of the questions

  is it's nice I need a question but it's

  like it's a note at the top of the

  document that like this is the year of


  and that's a thing that just exists to

  keep it to keep it more present in my

  mind as the years going along

  what about you I don't say I don't think

  I have a necessary structure because

  like the first time I did it was last

  year and the thing that I was doing

  which is time tracking in and of itself

  is a review which is constant right so

  it wasn't really like I had to sit down

  and I don't do the reviews the way that

  you do that's not a thing that I do mmm

  especially as well a lot of my work is

  kind of itself structured in that way

  that's true yeah I am very focused on

  quarter-to-quarter because that's how my

  business operates so I don't really have

  to sit down and do a performance review

  of myself because that I can see it on a

  spreadsheet how the business is doing

  and course-correct where needed I mean

  maybe if I want to continue doing my

  year of branching out it might require

  more reviews because these are things

  which are bigger than numbers these are

  different things like last year I could

  still really look at numbers more and

  those numbers were in over themselves

  just easy to see how it was going but my

  branching out stuff it's a lot more

  fluffy then last year's goals right so

  it may require some progress reviews I

  haven't worked that out yet

  but it's probably something I should

  think about and Jeff asked what is some

  advice you would give to someone looking

  to get their theme in place Oh number

  one advice don't don't try to do it

  quickly yeah like don't listen to this

  show and think I have an idea for a

  theme and as my theme for the year is

  going to be this I like I think what has

  happened in all of these cases is it's

  been a kind of slow build this idea of

  like hmm I think I need a theme for the

  year or or like what is my theme for the

  year going to be and it's useful to have

  that as something that's on the back

  burner and not something that you just

  instantly decide because if you feel

  like you go into the state where you are

  thinking about what the theme should be

  I feel like that helps you be more

  observant in your own life about what

  needs to happen like that's definitely

  what happened to me

  year we're coming out of the year of

  chaos I thought like oh my chaotic life

  doesn't need a year theme but simply

  being aware like oh I'm gonna talk to

  Mike about it at the end of January

  started booting up a little process

  where I noticed and thought much more

  about how my life was going into things

  that I wanted to change in my life so

  without a doubt dude don't be hasty with

  your year themes right like let it

  simmer for a while like the idea of

  yearly themes came to me when you

  started talking about the year of less I

  didn't have a theme and yeah I have a

  theme the next year because we spent the

  entire year talking about themes so it

  like was embedding in my mind so

  honestly I would say try if you think

  that yearly themes are good they aim to

  have one in 2019 like spend this next

  year with that in mind and you know

  maybe you could do what I did maybe in

  June come up with a six month themes

  like a theme for the rest of your year

  but if something isn't jumping out to

  you immediately like of course that's

  what it is like

  it's the clouds of parted and the idea

  has come to your mind then just spend

  some time rolling around this idea in

  your brain that you want to have a

  yearly theme listen to us talking about

  our themes as we progress throughout the

  year and stuff like that and then work

  out what yours could be just through

  kind of like osmosis of having this

  thinking don't push it or I might

  suggest if you want to get started a

  little sooner it might be perfectly fine

  to do like how I review my life in terms

  of like seasons like thinking about

  things more intentionally every season

  well take me maybe start smaller called

  gray quarterly like it's much better it

  is much more romantic like to call it a

  season right of course it is but is that

  what we is that how we think about work

  now I really appreciate the vague

  boundaries of seasons I don't like the

  precision of the quarter I like the

  vague boundary of the season right so I

  think also maybe breaking it down into

  into smaller chunks like that might

  might be helpful for just starting out a

  little bit but yeah I think that the not

  starting urgently is the main thing yeah

  until next time until next time

  good luck with your year themes