Cortex 65: Goals Are Dumb


00:00:00   so we are over an hour late starting

00:00:03   today I'm not recording would you like

00:00:06   to tell everybody gray why that is it

00:00:09   was a snow day it is snowing in London

00:00:16   we we have had enough snow in that it

00:00:18   makes a significant difference which

00:00:20   it's not a lot of snow for London but it

00:00:23   doesn't have to be a lot right for it to

00:00:25   make a big difference but it's very cold

00:00:26   here right now and there is some snow as

00:00:28   always with these things if you post on

00:00:31   the internet that your city has snow and

00:00:34   things are closing down people from the

00:00:37   northern Arctic wasteland will get in

00:00:40   touch and they'll tell you about how you

00:00:42   don't know or understand what snow is

00:00:44   all right that that Europe babe is like

00:00:46   this is yeah I know that there's more

00:00:49   snow in places that are colder that's is

00:00:51   never the question it's it's entirely a

00:00:53   question of how economically feasible is

00:00:56   it to keep a whole fleet of snow plows

00:00:59   at the ready to get your city clear of

00:01:02   snow and the answer is if your London

00:01:04   where it didn't even snow last year you

00:01:06   just don't have any plows right like you

00:01:08   have nothing just don't have anything

00:01:10   and so then when you do get every two

00:01:12   years one inch of snow everything shuts

00:01:15   down but most importantly I woke up this

00:01:18   morning I saw that there was a lot of

00:01:20   snow

00:01:21   I immediately opened up carrot weather

00:01:22   and saw that there was going to continue

00:01:24   to be a lot of snow and I immediately

00:01:26   declared it a gray industry snow day

00:01:28   like nope year of order routine

00:01:33   establishing in the morning right out

00:01:35   the window it goes like it I just ran

00:01:37   into the streets and it was great I

00:01:40   spent all morning wandering around

00:01:42   central London enjoying the snow and it

00:01:45   was glorious but I did send you a

00:01:47   message as soon as I possibly could like

00:01:49   as soon as I popped up in Trafalgar

00:01:50   Square I was like oh oh it's not a snow

00:01:54   day for relay industries Mike's still

00:01:56   gonna want to record the podcast so I

00:01:58   sent you a message to try to give you a

00:02:00   heads up that I was going to be almost

00:02:02   certainly late coming back which I was

00:02:05   but I liked that you you attempted to

00:02:08   sweeten this by sending me picture up

00:02:10   dates every now and then of the

00:02:12   interesting things that you will find

00:02:13   around London like look look it's so

00:02:15   nice you know well III thought you're

00:02:18   probably sitting at home yes in the in

00:02:22   the real a company that is not having a

00:02:23   snow day and having a you know a sad at

00:02:26   the office day so I thought I was gonna

00:02:28   brighten your morning with pictures of

00:02:29   me frolicking in the snow

00:02:31   I thought you would enjoy that Mike I

00:02:33   did not and have not had a snow day it's

00:02:36   been snowing for a few days I have not

00:02:39   left the house even though I love snow

00:02:41   that there there are a few things in the

00:02:43   world that I love more than a naturally

00:02:45   occurring than snow because it's so rare

00:02:48   for me that like it's a real treat but

00:02:50   oh yeah I think throughout this episode

00:02:52   there is going to be a theme and the

00:02:55   theme of this episode is Mike Mike feels

00:02:57   very overwhelmed right now with work so

00:03:02   I have a I have a character flaw in that

00:03:07   when I feel very busy if I leave the

00:03:10   house it's like I have committed a crime

00:03:13   mmm

00:03:14   like I have to be here and it is the

00:03:19   only way that I can feel okay because if

00:03:21   I leave I have neglected the mountain of

00:03:26   work that I have to take care of so I

00:03:29   have not left the house yet I believe as

00:03:34   we're recording this today that when

00:03:38   Adina comes home she is dragging me out

00:03:40   of the house she's bought me a scarf

00:03:43   even because she is unhappy with the

00:03:46   fact that I have not left the house this

00:03:48   week to play in the snow which would

00:03:51   bring me great joy but right now I feel

00:03:54   like I'm not allowed to do that I too

00:03:56   had a mountain of work to do and I know

00:04:03   this is a thing that is is very hard to

00:04:06   do but I'm always really glad when I do

00:04:08   it which is intentional play time or

00:04:12   intentional goofing off or relaxing time

00:04:15   where instead of what is very easy to do

00:04:17   like oh I should be working but somehow

00:04:21   I'm a Mario karting I don't know how

00:04:23   this happened and as I cannot fully

00:04:25   enjoying the Mario Kart

00:04:27   because I know that there's something

00:04:29   that I should be doing and I'm just sort

00:04:31   of here procrastinating a little bit

00:04:32   that's the worst because you're not

00:04:34   enjoying the activity and you're not

00:04:35   getting anything done but that's why

00:04:37   this morning is like Oh woke up boom I'm

00:04:40   the CEO I'm declaring its a snow day no

00:04:42   work can happen on the morning of a snow

00:04:44   day so there's no guilt at all nothing

00:04:46   nothing is even possibly going to happen

00:04:48   and I feel like that that's the best way

00:04:51   to enjoy a thing is is to mentally

00:04:54   cordon it off as work can't possibly

00:04:58   happen while it's snowing outside

00:05:00   everyone knows that so there's no

00:05:02   there's no guilt because I couldn't be

00:05:04   answering emails this morning it just it

00:05:06   couldn't happen

00:05:07   well annoys me the most is that I feel

00:05:09   like I had gotten good like better at

00:05:11   that like I feel like I had gotten a lot

00:05:13   better at being able to say to myself

00:05:16   you know what I'm gonna sit down and

00:05:18   play Nintendo for a while and it's gonna

00:05:20   be great I gonna but that we I've been

00:05:23   going through some transitions

00:05:24   business-wise this year that seemed to

00:05:28   have upended everything I think that my

00:05:32   company is at a stage now where it's

00:05:34   there's just some changes happening like

00:05:36   we're old enough that just different

00:05:38   types of things are going on it's all

00:05:41   good stuff like all of this work this

00:05:45   additional work is being generated

00:05:47   because of good things and the stress

00:05:48   that I'm going through is because of the

00:05:50   additional work not that anything bad is

00:05:52   happening right like it's that kind of

00:05:54   stress it's an overworld witness rather

00:05:56   than a desperation type stress so I and

00:06:00   I have not yet adjusted to this new

00:06:05   world and right and I'm and I am trying

00:06:08   to do some things to help me adjust but

00:06:10   right now I'm not doing a very good job

00:06:12   with it I'm sorry to hear that Mike

00:06:16   overwhelmingness is maybe one of the

00:06:21   much more harder things to deal with

00:06:23   because it is that that it's just that

00:06:28   cloud that feeling of oh there are so

00:06:31   there are so many things it's it's very

00:06:34   hard to get a handle on but you know I

00:06:38   really think Edina needs to take you on

00:06:40   a snow day

00:06:41   yeah yeah I know I know it's tricky let

00:06:45   me tell you actually let me tell you

00:06:47   about something that I started doing

00:06:50   which I'm hoping will help with this

00:06:53   mm-hmm I have started a journal okay I'm

00:06:58   gonna need I'm gonna need a lot of

00:07:00   details on what this means to you yeah I

00:07:03   know because it's that because I'm a you

00:07:05   know I've basically gone anywhere from

00:07:06   dear diary to like writing down minute

00:07:10   by minute what I'm doing right is it is

00:07:11   a all-encompassing term which these days

00:07:14   means more and more and more so I have

00:07:19   in the past looked at journaling systems

00:07:23   I am a big pen and paper nerd I've

00:07:25   mentioned this on the show before but

00:07:27   this is a thing that really is one of my

00:07:29   big loves in life is pen and paper I

00:07:32   have an entire podcast dedicated to it's

00:07:34   called the pen addict and I will put a

00:07:37   link in the show notes in case people

00:07:38   are interested we are about to hit our

00:07:40   300th episode it is a longest-running

00:07:43   show that I have ever done does there's

00:07:47   this weekly so you know like a lot of

00:07:50   pen and paper news so that's the thing

00:07:51   that I love very much so I've been very

00:07:53   aware of journaling systems you know

00:07:56   it's bullet journal is a big one right

00:07:58   and I actually know the guy who made it

00:08:01   his name is writer Carol and he's a

00:08:03   great guy and we've kind of been going

00:08:07   along with his journey over the time

00:08:08   that he created the bullet journal cuz

00:08:10   we first found out about it before it

00:08:12   was nothing

00:08:13   right the gute was just beginning and

00:08:14   now it's like a huge huge deal yeah but

00:08:17   I also bullet journal in my mind at

00:08:19   least from what I know of it bullet

00:08:21   journal is not a journal at all it's a

00:08:23   task management system this is why when

00:08:26   you say you started a journal I feel

00:08:28   like I need to know what it is that

00:08:29   you're talking about exactly so this is

00:08:31   it right like this is it that the term

00:08:33   journal means so much now but I said

00:08:36   like I have looked into bullet

00:08:37   journaling and I was considering it as a

00:08:39   thing but it didn't do for whatever

00:08:42   reason it wasn't doing what I wanted it

00:08:44   to do and then a couple of weeks ago I

00:08:47   had a call with mining your friend mr.

00:08:50   David sparks and he was telling me that

00:08:53   he had just started

00:08:55   himself but decided to just create his

00:08:59   own system which focused on things that

00:09:02   mattered to him and I was like oh okay

00:09:05   that's that's probably what I should do

00:09:07   like why focus on somebody else's system

00:09:10   when I don't I don't need a to-do list

00:09:14   mm-hmm on paper like I already have one

00:09:16   of those right so I figured I'm gonna

00:09:19   focus on what I want to do and I have

00:09:21   been keeping this journal for just over

00:09:22   a week and every day I sit down at one

00:09:28   point and I write out the headings of

00:09:30   the things that I want to focus on in

00:09:32   that day and then later on in the

00:09:33   evening I'll kind of complete it so let

00:09:35   me tell you what my system includes okay

00:09:39   so I sit down with a double-page in a

00:09:42   notebook and I write down a bunch of

00:09:44   headings one of them is priorities one

00:09:47   of them is called one good thing I have

00:09:50   one bad thing what did I learn what am I

00:09:53   looking forward to and then what pens

00:09:55   did I use this is also a way for me to

00:10:02   use my pens more which is nice but so

00:10:05   yeah so priorities right okay let's run

00:10:08   through these let's run through these

00:10:09   one at a time

00:10:10   priorities this is in essence like to

00:10:14   dues but they are much broader and much

00:10:19   more simple so like every day I may have

00:10:22   10 tasks say that I want to a my to-do

00:10:26   list I want to complete right in

00:10:27   introduced but they don't actually all

00:10:31   need need need to be done today right

00:10:33   like that's not how my system works

00:10:35   sometimes sometimes I have to do is in

00:10:38   my my project manager in todoist knowing

00:10:41   that they won't be done today but I can

00:10:43   do a little bit of work towards them

00:10:44   today and then reschedule them right but

00:10:47   my priorities are the things that by the

00:10:50   end of the day today I will have a

00:10:52   hundred percent wanting to complete

00:10:53   these things so then when I'm coming to

00:10:57   the end of my day and I'm looking at two

00:10:59   duis and I'm moving seven tasks to

00:11:02   tomorrow and I get that feeling of like

00:11:05   tired

00:11:06   do anything today I can refer to my

00:11:08   journal and tick off the things that

00:11:11   I've done and be like old these were the

00:11:12   things that I actually achieved I set

00:11:14   out to achieve the most important things

00:11:16   that I needed to do today mm-hmm so it's

00:11:19   like a it's like a it's like a sublist

00:11:21   it doesn't bear any kind of control over

00:11:24   my actual to-do list system it's more

00:11:27   like it's more like pie in the sky type

00:11:30   stuff right like these are things and I

00:11:32   want to do and they can even be non-work

00:11:35   things and they are a lot of the time

00:11:37   not work things stuff that I wouldn't

00:11:39   actually have in my to-do list but so

00:11:41   like I'm gonna write one in right now as

00:11:43   we as we're talking cuz I add to my

00:11:45   journal throughout the day and it's

00:11:47   gonna say go out in the snow that's

00:11:51   gonna be added to my priorities list for

00:11:54   today and then later on we'll go out in

00:11:56   the snow but that's never gonna find its

00:11:58   way into the duyst because it's not part

00:12:00   of my system all right yeah and it also

00:12:03   doesn't in the structure of using

00:12:06   something to manage projects it doesn't

00:12:09   really make sense to make a project

00:12:11   which is called Mike is exposed to snow

00:12:15   because it's good for his mental health

00:12:17   exactly an action which is called go

00:12:19   outside all right like that doesn't make

00:12:21   it it's too heavy weight right it's way

00:12:23   too heavy wait what let me rephrase it

00:12:24   it's not good for the way that I have my

00:12:27   system some people may do that right but

00:12:29   that's not that doesn't work within the

00:12:31   way that I think about tasks right but

00:12:34   when I'm looking at like my priorities

00:12:35   for today then yeah maybe that works so

00:12:38   then I have one good thing on one bad

00:12:40   thing so every day I but try them write

00:12:43   down one good thing that happened and

00:12:45   one bad thing that happened and I

00:12:47   included the bad thing because I

00:12:49   included the good thing I didn't want

00:12:51   this to just be like an idealistic view

00:12:54   of my life because bad things happen

00:12:57   right and I didn't want this dis journal

00:12:59   to just be like Oh everything right it's

00:13:03   not like that it's not how life is okay

00:13:06   so already we're getting into a little

00:13:09   bit of a different function of this for

00:13:10   you which is the idea that this is a

00:13:12   thing like a traditional dear diary that

00:13:17   you might look back

00:13:19   as a record of what was going on in your

00:13:22   life right that's that's why the one bad

00:13:24   thing is there because it lets you know

00:13:26   what's going on I highly doubt that I

00:13:29   will even keep this journal when it's

00:13:32   finished like I'm not harvest the stuff

00:13:35   like this it's more just as a way for me

00:13:38   to reflect on something so like by

00:13:42   writing it down

00:13:43   it's like acknowledging a thing happened

00:13:45   or a thing didn't happen and honestly

00:13:48   like the one good thing none of this

00:13:51   stuff has I don't feel like it ever has

00:13:53   to be completed right if I don't have a

00:13:57   bad thing I'm not gonna write it I think

00:14:00   I'm not gonna magic something up but the

00:14:03   idea for me is more just like a way to

00:14:07   just reflect on things a little bit more

00:14:09   just so I can focus on like what good

00:14:12   things did happen today and my idea for

00:14:15   this is like moving into the future if I

00:14:18   feel like I've had a really bad day

00:14:20   mm-hmm

00:14:22   why don't I try and think about if there

00:14:24   was a good thing and it might help me

00:14:26   feel a little bit better and the reason

00:14:28   I'm doing this is because of one of the

00:14:31   things I learned about myself through

00:14:32   time-tracking of understanding I feel

00:14:36   like I've been very busy what the

00:14:37   numbers say hmm sometimes the numbers

00:14:41   say no you haven't so then it's like

00:14:44   okay well let me try and think about

00:14:45   that why do I feel this way if I have

00:14:48   something that tells me it's not this

00:14:50   way so it's like I might feel really bad

00:14:52   today but maybe that's just the last

00:14:56   half an hour mm-hmm as opposed to the

00:14:59   entire day so that's kind of what the

00:15:00   one good thing one bad thing is is meant

00:15:02   to be for like acknowledging that there

00:15:05   is both but also giving me a way to

00:15:07   think about what my day was actually

00:15:12   like because I don't know is this about

00:15:15   myself that like I can have a perfectly

00:15:18   good day but then things can ruin it

00:15:20   like something happens in and I'm in a

00:15:23   bad mood right and I am I'm very aware

00:15:26   of this and believe that I think I would

00:15:30   be overall more happy if I didn't dwell

00:15:32   on they

00:15:33   as much so this is kind of me trying to

00:15:40   curtail that a little bit by having more

00:15:43   of a structure more of a system around

00:15:47   good things that happen and actually the

00:15:48   next two parts of the journal also

00:15:51   enforced this so one of them is what did

00:15:54   I learn and this this serves two

00:15:57   functions one of them is basically for

00:16:00   the entire time that I have known Adina

00:16:01   if she wants to talk if what we want to

00:16:06   have a conversation but we don't have

00:16:08   anything to talk about you know I could

00:16:10   wear hang out hanging out with just

00:16:11   chatting she will say to me tell me the

00:16:13   three things you learned today and that

00:16:16   has always been I've strong exercise for

00:16:19   me that I fail at a lot of the time yeah

00:16:22   I'm gonna say even even as someone who

00:16:25   makes a real effort to try to read and

00:16:29   expose himself to different things what

00:16:34   are the three things you learned today

00:16:35   is a tall order so it's tricky

00:16:39   because I know that there are things but

00:16:42   I just don't remember them or like at

00:16:45   that moment I can't think back to like

00:16:48   the specific things that I went huh

00:16:50   about today right there must be more

00:16:53   than three every day so I've always

00:16:56   found this an interesting thing and a

00:16:58   thing that I've struggled with but it

00:17:00   was I thought it was a nice framework to

00:17:03   try and write some stuff down where I

00:17:06   try and write down a number of things

00:17:08   every day that I have learned but this

00:17:10   this is a very open thing where it can

00:17:14   be like facts one thing that's changed

00:17:16   my mind

00:17:17   or even just a thing about myself or a

00:17:19   thing that I found interesting like it

00:17:21   can be literally anything but it's just

00:17:24   three things that have kind of been in

00:17:26   my mind today is kind of how I approach

00:17:29   this so it can be like something pithy

00:17:33   like something that I just think is kind

00:17:35   of weird or funny or it can literally be

00:17:37   like oh I found out this thing about the

00:17:39   crown jewels today you know like so

00:17:40   three things that I consider like

00:17:41   notable pieces of information for one

00:17:44   reason or another that I have

00:17:46   accumulated

00:17:47   over the day and it can be three things

00:17:50   it can be six things sometimes it's one

00:17:52   thing or two thing right like it doesn't

00:17:54   really matter but it's more just what

00:17:56   did I learn and it can be any amount of

00:17:58   things but I try and aim to do three but

00:18:01   most days get like yeah so and this is

00:18:07   again another reflection thing like me

00:18:10   trying to focus on some stuff that's

00:18:12   happened in a day and just trying to

00:18:14   note down some some notable items and in

00:18:18   the next one is what I'm looking forward

00:18:20   to so something that's on the horizon

00:18:23   that I'm excited about and I have a

00:18:25   little personal rule of I can't repeat

00:18:28   the same thing over two days right so so

00:18:31   you can't say like I'm looking forward

00:18:34   to my upcoming wedding and you can't use

00:18:38   that for the next six months it's more

00:18:41   day-to-day so like I can have something

00:18:44   that I'm really excited about which is

00:18:46   happening on Saturday and I could write

00:18:47   it on Monday and Thursday for example

00:18:49   but it's it's more just like I can't

00:18:51   write whatever yesterday it has to be

00:18:53   different today mm-hmm and that's purely

00:18:56   because sometimes there'd be something

00:18:58   happening on Saturday and I would write

00:18:59   you in every single day and I feel like

00:19:01   that's I'm cheating yeah I think that's

00:19:04   that's cheating the the idea of what

00:19:07   you're trying to go for there mm-hmm and

00:19:09   then the last section is ranked down my

00:19:11   pens but you don't need to know any more

00:19:12   about that I I want to know much more

00:19:16   about okay well one thing is like

00:19:17   they're looking forward to I used so I

00:19:19   use two pens one pen to write the

00:19:21   headings and one pen to write everything

00:19:23   else in like the body of everything and

00:19:24   I don't use the same two pens in a row

00:19:27   either I have to use different pens

00:19:29   every day right so this is a mechanism

00:19:31   to help you rotate your pens yeah to

00:19:33   enjoy my hobby more the image in my head

00:19:35   is of a monk typesetting a book you know

00:19:40   where they have the uppercase and the

00:19:42   lowercase of all of the letters and

00:19:44   they're working at a big day like this

00:19:45   is my image of you writing out the

00:19:48   journal is you have this array of pens

00:19:51   neatly stored in front of you and so you

00:19:54   just select well from this big this big

00:19:57   array of pens is that was that was

00:19:59   actually occurring

00:20:00   I typically will go to my office and

00:20:03   pick two pens from my kind of top pen

00:20:08   selection which I keep on my desk at

00:20:10   times and then take those to somewhere

00:20:12   else in the house and write out my

00:20:14   journal okay all right that's nice yes

00:20:17   nice see you move around in the physical

00:20:19   space to do it

00:20:20   yep and then I keep the journal and the

00:20:23   body writing pen with me kind of

00:20:25   throughout the day and we'll add to it

00:20:29   where I need to so you're a week in

00:20:32   mm-hmm how do you think it's going it's

00:20:35   become part of my routine already which

00:20:40   I'm very surprised about I have a daily

00:20:42   task in todoist right to complete the

00:20:44   journal but it kind of gets to a point

00:20:47   in the day where I feel like oh it's

00:20:49   journal time they can it's not about me

00:20:52   being reminded like and I just feel like

00:20:55   oh I need to complete the journal now or

00:20:57   one thing that I've been doing is I

00:20:59   could get to a point nerd am like what

00:21:00   should I do next and like oh I know what

00:21:03   I'll do

00:21:03   oh so you know it is a it is a part busy

00:21:11   work exercise right so it's like a work

00:21:15   Craster nation type dealio because I'm

00:21:17   saying and I'm kind of doing a thing

00:21:19   which isn't real work and it's kind of

00:21:21   maybe putting off real work for a few

00:21:23   minutes but I'd it's also a thing which

00:21:27   is helping me think which I like yeah

00:21:31   I'm gonna disagree with there I think

00:21:33   that's entirely a category of real work

00:21:35   in my time tracking system I have a

00:21:37   category that I call meta work well and

00:21:40   that that's that's what I would classify

00:21:42   this kind of thing as is is it work like

00:21:46   editing a podcast no but it's work like

00:21:49   sorting out your brain and what you're

00:21:52   thinking about and what you're paying

00:21:53   attention to yeah I know that is a kind

00:21:56   of work well I like this you seem to be

00:22:00   very hesitant to let this count like I

00:22:04   am so this again this has been a trend

00:22:08   of my most recent busy time

00:22:11   I'm trying to really focus on my to-do

00:22:14   list as the work mm-hmm because there's

00:22:19   already so much in there I don't need to

00:22:22   also consider everything else work as

00:22:25   well because then it's just too much

00:22:28   it's too much work okay so you don't

00:22:32   want it to count as work because you

00:22:34   feel like you already have too much work

00:22:35   okay yeah then it's not work then it is

00:22:37   a personal project of yeah this journal

00:22:39   is a counterbalance against the

00:22:41   overworking right we're just gonna take

00:22:43   this activity out of this arbitrary set

00:22:46   of labels and oh look we've lifted it up

00:22:48   and we put it down here in this set of

00:22:51   arbitrary labels it's different now it's

00:22:55   a totally different thing I'm sorry Mike

00:22:59   it's not work at all I didn't I didn't

00:23:00   mean to you know I know take it all back

00:23:02   I take it all back this episode of

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00:25:05   a lot of my busyness is self-imposed and

00:25:09   I'm very aware of that and I'm trying to

00:25:15   find ways to counterbalance it to kind

00:25:18   of counteract it to break my thinking a

00:25:21   little bit like I am a busy individual I

00:25:23   do have a lot of things going on but I

00:25:27   know I'm not as busy as my brain tells

00:25:30   me I am right anyway because you do the

00:25:33   time track because that's one of the

00:25:36   many valuable things about doing yep

00:25:37   time tracking so I'm right now I'm just

00:25:40   trying to identify what is making me

00:25:43   feel this way I mean cuz there are like

00:25:45   again there of days this week where I've

00:25:47   been working a lot and my time tracking

00:25:49   reflects it like abnormal amounts of

00:25:51   working hours and that's fine like I

00:25:53   understand that I know what's going on

00:25:54   it's all good but just the overall

00:25:57   day-to-day feeling that I've had for

00:25:59   maybe the last two weeks of like this

00:26:02   complete of a la madness like I need to

00:26:04   try and I need to try and ascertain why

00:26:07   I'm feeling this way when a lot of the

00:26:10   things that's happening not everything

00:26:11   but a lot of the things are on the kind

00:26:13   of like the general schedule of things

00:26:14   the general kind of flow of time and I

00:26:16   have some additional projects and stuff

00:26:18   like that but logically they shouldn't

00:26:23   be making me feel like how I feel right

00:26:26   now mm-hmm

00:26:28   so I'm just trying to work out what is

00:26:31   going on and the only thing I have right

00:26:36   now is this journal it's my only

00:26:39   yeah so I'm just really focusing on that

00:26:42   which is why I wanted to bring it to

00:26:44   discuss today you're holding on to this

00:26:46   journal real time real time because it

00:26:49   is the only thing that it's you afloat

00:26:52   in the last ocean of your work that

00:26:55   stretches in every direction okay good

00:27:02   well I'm going to say that I think it's

00:27:06   a good idea

00:27:07   I'm not going to poopoo your journal and

00:27:15   one of the reasons I will not approve

00:27:17   your journal is because I have I have

00:27:20   done something similar to this and I

00:27:25   hope you just feel really hesitant to

00:27:29   talk about it because there's something

00:27:33   so there's something so touchy-feely

00:27:39   about this that I find myself a little

00:27:42   bit repulsed but I have I have totally

00:27:46   done this kind of thing and I have I

00:27:49   have definitely found it a helpful

00:27:52   exercise at times so yeah like I'll pull

00:28:02   up I'll pull up what it actually looks

00:28:03   like for me but sort of like when would

00:28:09   it have been now maybe like a year and a

00:28:11   half ago now at this point I was sort of

00:28:13   going through a bit of a rougher time

00:28:15   like you know we we touched upon some of

00:28:19   those things like some of the recurring

00:28:21   health issues for my wife and a few

00:28:22   other things and it's just like not the

00:28:25   best time in the world and this was one

00:28:29   of the first times I tried this kind of

00:28:31   thing because a friend of mine had

00:28:34   recommended it to me and he's like

00:28:35   listen you're gonna feel really stupid

00:28:37   doing this but you should really try it

00:28:39   and it's a good idea I was like okay

00:28:41   fine

00:28:42   I'll give this a shot and I did like the

00:28:45   even the way you're laying out your

00:28:47   journal I ended up doing something that

00:28:49   was very similar and I felt

00:28:53   so dopey about it because it's like okay

00:28:55   in your little journal here's what

00:28:57   you're gonna do you're gonna write down

00:28:58   three things that you're thankful for as

00:29:01   like how god am i do am i doing like a

00:29:03   gratitude exercise here the answer is

00:29:05   yes yes you are doing a gratitude

00:29:07   exercise it's like okay fine

00:29:09   so I'll write down like three things

00:29:11   that I'm grateful for and then sort of

00:29:16   like you're talking about what the

00:29:17   priorities just three things that I can

00:29:20   do that will make the day a good day and

00:29:23   then at the end of the day I would just

00:29:27   come back to that list see how things

00:29:29   had gone and also just again ad like

00:29:33   what were some good things that happened

00:29:36   during the day right that's all it was

00:29:37   it's like a way of starting something

00:29:41   answering a few questions

00:29:43   setting up the course of the day in my

00:29:46   mind with what are the what are the top

00:29:48   things that I want to do as opposed to

00:29:50   what is the big ball of stuff in my task

00:29:56   management system like just pick three

00:29:57   things and then simply at the end of the

00:29:59   day reviewing the situation and I did

00:30:03   this for the first time when I was on a

00:30:07   gradation in an undisclosed location in

00:30:10   finis Scandia and it was stupidly

00:30:15   effective like so effective I can't

00:30:19   believe how effective it was at just

00:30:21   changing my mental framing and also

00:30:23   helping just make it really clear about

00:30:26   I only have so much time today what are

00:30:30   the things that I really need to do and

00:30:32   so I'm gonna try to focus on those

00:30:33   things so it's not that far off from

00:30:38   what you're doing I did it for a while

00:30:41   it is something that I have found nearly

00:30:47   impossible to make stick as a part of a

00:30:50   regular routine even though it's a thing

00:30:52   that I in theory would want to do but I

00:30:57   find that I can only really maintain it

00:31:01   when I'm in a particular focused or

00:31:04   almost somewhat isolated

00:31:07   state-of-mind says like i am on a

00:31:08   gradation I am on like the corporate

00:31:10   retreat for one and I don't know there's

00:31:15   I talk about two going on these

00:31:18   corporate retreats for one things I

00:31:19   always always sounds kind of silly but

00:31:21   it is they're weirdly mentally draining

00:31:24   and they're they're very mentally

00:31:29   intensive and I feel like there's

00:31:31   there's something about having this

00:31:34   little thing running in the background

00:31:37   of like oh you're gonna review a little

00:31:38   journal at the end of the day that is is

00:31:41   very effective but I have just not been

00:31:43   able to make it last because I almost

00:31:45   find like it's it's to mentally tiring

00:31:48   even though it doesn't seem like it's a

00:31:51   big deal

00:31:52   but yeah so I've done that I've done

00:31:55   that almost every time I go away on a

00:31:57   corporate retreat I've sort of over the

00:32:00   over the time I have modified it to add

00:32:02   a couple of more questions or little

00:32:05   little spaces so it's sort of developed

00:32:07   into this thing that I now call a like

00:32:09   my bookend journal so it's like the day

00:32:12   starts and the day ends with looking at

00:32:16   just these couple of pieces of paper but

00:32:18   yeah it's I never look back at it it's

00:32:24   not a thing that's any kind of archive

00:32:26   for me it's just entirely a thing that I

00:32:30   come on I'm on the trip I have my iPad

00:32:33   and the pencil and I just fill it out

00:32:35   you know on on on some fake paper that I

00:32:39   had designed for me which I mentioned a

00:32:40   while back and don't know why did you do

00:32:44   that

00:32:44   I just I just had people stop asking me

00:32:47   for the designs the first time around

00:32:49   because you said you were gonna share

00:32:51   them and you never did III have plans to

00:32:54   share them at some point but I just I

00:32:56   just realized as I was discussing this

00:32:57   what I didn't want you to have in your

00:32:59   mind Mike was the romantic idea of me

00:33:03   with a quill pen and it really believed

00:33:06   that I for one second thought you were

00:33:08   doing is an actual pen and paper I don't

00:33:11   know what's in your head paper before I

00:33:18   made for you by

00:33:19   a mysterious individual and that I

00:33:22   assumed that you were doing it there

00:33:24   yeah that's where it still is but I am

00:33:27   happy to hear that you have found this

00:33:29   kind of thing effective too

00:33:30   it is interesting to me that like you

00:33:32   seem to speak really high of it but like

00:33:34   can't find a way to integrate it into

00:33:37   your life on a more permanent basis

00:33:39   that's kind of surprising to me like it

00:33:41   seems like counter to the types of

00:33:44   things that you usually do right find

00:33:46   something to be really useful but not

00:33:48   like force it here is one of the here's

00:33:51   one of the things this actually kind of

00:33:52   rolls up into year of order a little bit

00:33:55   which is the reason it works when I'm on

00:34:00   a gray casian is because I always treat

00:34:06   it as I wake up I get some coffee and I

00:34:10   sit down with this thing and I have like

00:34:12   I have some blank space one of the

00:34:13   questions I've added over time that I

00:34:14   find useful is just a big big blank area

00:34:17   that just says what's on your mind and I

00:34:19   just sort of just write some things down

00:34:20   just random freeform like what am I

00:34:22   thinking about that's nice yeah it's

00:34:25   it's surprisingly illuminating to just

00:34:27   sit and and have a blank piece of paper

00:34:29   in front of you and just wait and see

00:34:32   what thoughts surface and just go just

00:34:36   write them down and it's almost always

00:34:38   just kind of nonsense but very often it

00:34:40   will get to the it'll get to things like

00:34:42   what you're saying here like I'm feeling

00:34:45   overwhelmed but not about anything in

00:34:47   particular right it's like oh that's

00:34:48   interesting why like let's let's try to

00:34:50   figure this out a bit more but on the

00:34:52   gradations I treat it as the first

00:34:54   activity in the morning and I'm able to

00:34:59   work it into a routine then but in in my

00:35:03   regular working schedule so like now and

00:35:06   I'm I'm back home I'm in London and like

00:35:10   before I was going to my previous office

00:35:12   and now I am going to the glass cube to

00:35:15   create things which I think in my mind I

00:35:17   think it is now because I've decided

00:35:18   it's that's where creation is going to

00:35:20   occur like it's gone from the glass cube

00:35:22   to the glass Forge mmm

00:35:24   the glass Forge in the year of order

00:35:26   like I like these all of these things

00:35:28   but it just doesn't fit in the schedule

00:35:32   because I know on my regular life the

00:35:36   most important thing the thing that I

00:35:38   try to optimize for is wake up take a

00:35:42   quick walk and then get right to a

00:35:45   computer to work on a script for a video

00:35:48   like I've got to make that transition as

00:35:50   smooth as possible and doing the journal

00:35:54   puts me in like a very different kind of

00:35:56   mood it puts me in a much more like

00:35:57   pensive big-picture mood which is not

00:36:01   not the frame of mind for I want to

00:36:05   start revving this engine to get some

00:36:07   work done and so I like I've just never

00:36:10   quite figured out how to make it work in

00:36:12   a regular routine for me otherwise so

00:36:16   it's it has ended up being just largely

00:36:19   like a gradation kind of thing for me

00:36:23   and and that's how I use it but that's

00:36:25   kind of why I was curious like you're a

00:36:27   week into it and I think um I don't

00:36:29   think I have ever done it for more than

00:36:31   10 or 14 days in a row which is about

00:36:34   the longest of the longest gradations

00:36:36   and then after that it falls apart very

00:36:39   quickly when I get back to my regular

00:36:40   life feel like I'm gonna have better

00:36:42   luck than you because of the secondary

00:36:46   purpose that it serves in my life mm-hmm

00:36:48   which is the act like the action of

00:36:52   using my pens because that that brings

00:36:55   me joy so like I I get something out of

00:36:58   it which is separate which is like a

00:37:00   feeling of happiness think that being

00:37:03   able to act on a pursuit that I love

00:37:06   mm-hmm

00:37:08   so like that's an additional benefit

00:37:09   that I get from this then what then what

00:37:12   you would get but I'm happy to hear that

00:37:14   is something that you do as well just

00:37:16   because then I'm not on my own I'm a

00:37:21   little wall right now no I totally get

00:37:24   it I totally get it like an if it hadn't

00:37:26   been a friend who I feel like is not a

00:37:28   very airy-fairy person suggesting it

00:37:31   quite strongly I think I never would

00:37:33   have tried it in the first place he's

00:37:34   like I'm not gonna sit down write three

00:37:37   things that I'm thankful for

00:37:38   that's dumb but like I said

00:37:41   like comically effective comically

00:37:46   effective at kind of changing your

00:37:48   mental mindset so yeah it it very much

00:37:52   works I'm gonna have a book

00:37:53   recommendation for you Mike uh uh at

00:37:55   this point I know you I know you don't

00:37:58   like that you're at you're adding

00:38:01   something to the work pile I know I know

00:38:05   that I'm adding something to the work

00:38:06   pile

00:38:07   but listen never has a more perfect

00:38:10   moment come to recommend something and

00:38:13   I'm we don't eat we don't even have to

00:38:17   commit to it being cortex book club I'm

00:38:19   just gonna mention it on the show and if

00:38:22   you read it and we want to talk about

00:38:24   understand then we can talk about it we

00:38:26   don't have to do it there's no

00:38:28   obligation here whatsoever Mike like I'm

00:38:31   only ever going to read this if it can

00:38:35   be a work thing right okay I've really

00:38:40   continued to I read books now for work

00:38:43   it's the only reason that I would read

00:38:46   any book now is to do it for work so is

00:38:51   it triggers by Marshall Goldsmith yes

00:38:54   yes so you saw this in the show notes

00:38:56   documents this is this has been here for

00:38:59   a while and I've been waiting to bring

00:39:01   it up because on my last gradation a

00:39:04   different good friend recommended this

00:39:07   book which title the title of of it

00:39:10   makes me laugh and it's a book that has

00:39:13   a subtitle which is also very self helpy

00:39:16   about creating behavior that lasts

00:39:18   becoming the person you want to be

00:39:19   everything about that sort of repels me

00:39:21   from the cover of the book but oh god

00:39:25   it's a leopard changing its spots

00:39:27   yeah I know right did you get that it

00:39:30   took a while right for the visual the

00:39:32   visual metaphor there to work its way in

00:39:34   yeah I know I was looking at that for a

00:39:36   while and I was like what the hell is

00:39:37   this cover I don't understand but yes it

00:39:40   the cover literally has a leopard

00:39:41   changing its spots but I read this on my

00:39:45   last gradation which was also at an

00:39:48   undisclosed location in finis kandia and

00:39:50   I thought it was pretty good like as far

00:39:53   as business books go I think this

00:39:55   was pretty good and what I specifically

00:39:57   wanted to do was let it sit for a while

00:40:00   and see if future me was still thinking

00:40:05   about it as a thing to come back to and

00:40:07   the answer to that has now been yes like

00:40:10   I've left it alone for a while and I

00:40:12   still keep thinking about it which means

00:40:14   okay I want to actually reread it and

00:40:16   think if there's anything here to

00:40:19   extract for me and it the most

00:40:22   actionable stuff is directly related to

00:40:25   things that are very similar to doing a

00:40:27   daily journal so if you are trying to do

00:40:31   a daily journal if you're trying to

00:40:33   figure out the edges of what that might

00:40:36   be this is this is the book to read to

00:40:39   see if there's anything in here for you

00:40:41   that might be useful and I want to

00:40:44   reread it to see if there's if there's a

00:40:47   way that I can modify my much more

00:40:52   intensive pensive book and journal into

00:40:57   something that's more like a daily

00:40:59   action plan book and journal so I am

00:41:02   going to reread this I suggest that you

00:41:05   might want to listen to it on audiobook

00:41:08   and if if you want to we could talk

00:41:12   about on a future show but there's no

00:41:14   pressure mic

00:41:14   because I will I refuse to add any more

00:41:16   work to your big work pile now let's do

00:41:20   it let's do it next time let's do it

00:41:23   okay alright because it's not that long

00:41:25   it's it's a six hour audio book which is

00:41:28   about a third of what we usually do so I

00:41:31   feel like I can knock that out by next

00:41:33   time all right so next episode we're

00:41:35   gonna do a claw textbook Club and maybe

00:41:38   for the first time it will be something

00:41:40   of use to all the freelancers out there

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00:43:17   thanks to fresh books for supporting

00:43:19   this show gray the drought is over oh

00:43:21   yeah mm-hmm

00:43:23   year-long drought of no new Mike early

00:43:27   vehicles so sad for the internet come to

00:43:30   an end and I haven't you show that I'm

00:43:32   very excited about and I want to just

00:43:35   tell our listeners about it so they can

00:43:37   go and check it out if they want to it

00:43:39   is called playing for fun and it's

00:43:42   hosted by Tiffany almond and myself it

00:43:45   is not the big project that I've been

00:43:48   teasing that is still in the offing this

00:43:52   is the problem when people know that

00:43:53   you're working on some kind of big

00:43:54   project yeah is that they think

00:43:56   everything's a project right oh he just

00:43:58   tweeted it was that the big project no

00:44:00   it was not I'll be working on this tweet

00:44:04   for four years I'm still the big project

00:44:08   is still kind of like being slowly

00:44:10   chipped at every few days I will have a

00:44:14   thought or I can idea and like I'm just

00:44:16   ever so slowly flashing their hours to

00:44:19   see if it's a thing that I'm going to do

00:44:21   this is a project I'm very excited about

00:44:23   every episode me and TIFF pick a video

00:44:26   game and we just talk about what we love

00:44:29   about the video game nothing else no bad

00:44:32   stuff just the good stuff it is a fun

00:44:35   happy positive show about things we love

00:44:39   we don't talk about industry news

00:44:41   we don't necessarily focus on the

00:44:42   biggest games the biggest games right

00:44:44   now we just pick a game that we love and

00:44:46   we talk about it and we just talk about

00:44:48   what we love about it and it is a show

00:44:52   that is bringing me a lot of happiness

00:44:53   because that's all it was about it's

00:44:56   just about happiness and I feel like I

00:45:00   get to talk about all of the things that

00:45:02   I love like that's kind of I've built an

00:45:05   incredible job for myself in that I just

00:45:09   talk about things that I like right the

00:45:11   things I'm passionate about the things

00:45:13   that I enjoy in life but I tend to talk

00:45:16   about them from a critical perspective

00:45:18   right so like with all of the things

00:45:22   where I'm talking about Apple stuff for

00:45:24   example but even on this show I like to

00:45:27   talk about working it's just a passion

00:45:29   that I have that is the thing that we

00:45:31   both share in just liking to talk about

00:45:34   work I also talk about bad things like

00:45:37   feeling overwhelmed right right but this

00:45:41   show playing for fun we only talk about

00:45:44   good things so it only makes you feel

00:45:46   good you're never gonna criticize a

00:45:47   video game like look I have another show

00:45:52   about video games where I criticize

00:45:54   video games right this one is just about

00:45:57   good things so you can find it at relay

00:46:00   that FM / playing for fun or any app

00:46:03   that you use or any service that you you

00:46:05   should be able to find it there it has

00:46:08   the best artwork and music of any show I

00:46:11   have ever been a part of it is

00:46:15   next-level good so if anything just go

00:46:18   check out the artwork so yeah it's

00:46:22   called playing for fun please go and

00:46:23   listen to it even if you don't like

00:46:25   video games because you might just enjoy

00:46:27   hearing two best friends talk about

00:46:29   something that they enjoy like we have

00:46:31   listeners of the pen addict that are

00:46:33   like this people write in to us like I

00:46:34   don't care about pen

00:46:35   I just like hearing the two of you talk

00:46:37   about things something that I don't

00:46:38   understand so yeah go and check it out I

00:46:41   just wanted to spend some time promoting

00:46:42   well if you do like video games

00:46:44   you should also listen to it as well

00:46:46   because whenever TIFF has guested on the

00:46:50   ATP podcast and she talks about video

00:46:52   games at the end I've always thought she

00:46:54   should have a podcast where she talks

00:46:55   about video games she plays a lot of

00:46:57   video games

00:46:57   she's pretty hardcore the way she plays

00:47:00   games is crazy but she's so yeah it's

00:47:09   she's she's very hardcore and I've

00:47:12   always enjoyed it when she's on ATP

00:47:13   talking about games I thought she's

00:47:14   talking about games more so you should

00:47:17   go listen to it plus TIFF has a great

00:47:19   podcasting voice she should do more

00:47:20   podcasts so I'm glad she's doing another

00:47:22   podcast with you alright let's talk

00:47:24   about some year of aura and some this is

00:47:28   part of my year of branching out by the

00:47:29   way both for those things we've been

00:47:31   talking about today I should have framed

00:47:33   it as such but both the journal and the

00:47:35   new show that's part of branching out

00:47:37   cuz these are new things these are

00:47:39   things that I haven't done before and

00:47:40   I'm branching out by doing those so that

00:47:43   that's actually part of my year of

00:47:45   Europe branching out see this is the

00:47:49   nice thing about your themes mike is is

00:47:50   they can be inclusive or exclusive as

00:47:54   you desire them to be yep right it's I

00:47:57   love the year themes they should have

00:47:59   these fuzzy boundaries so much better

00:48:00   than goals goals or dumb themes way

00:48:03   better and also okay so let's be real

00:48:06   for a second if you set a good theme

00:48:09   literally anything you do can be applied

00:48:12   to the theme so you always feel like

00:48:13   you're progressing yeah exactly right

00:48:16   it's great I've just made a new show

00:48:18   I've done this many times but it's part

00:48:20   of my year of branching out because it

00:48:21   wasn't something I did last year so I've

00:48:22   branched out but I could also say oh

00:48:25   it's nothing to do with the theme but

00:48:27   I'm gonna say is part of the theme

00:48:28   because then I feel like I'm progressing

00:48:30   something in my life which is great news

00:48:32   no it's fantastic to have in the back of

00:48:35   your mind I went through a box with a

00:48:37   bunch of computer cables in it and got

00:48:38   rid of the ones that I don't need guess

00:48:40   what

00:48:40   year of order advanced a Yalie theme I

00:48:43   have brought order to the books

00:48:45   yeah this box more ordered oh the

00:48:49   cutlery is out of place let me bring

00:48:51   year of all of it to the cutlery girl

00:48:54   order order in all things big and small

00:48:58   Mike right it's great its base it's

00:49:00   great I may leave the house today it is

00:49:02   part of the year of branching out think

00:49:04   that's stretching a little bit obviously

00:49:06   any orders in the drawer but yeah yeah I

00:49:08   mean that's well within the confines

00:49:10   yeah for sure yeah now I guess going out

00:49:13   going out for your snow day the snow day

00:49:14   is big enough does I think to be you're

00:49:16   branching out yeah that's good yeah I

00:49:17   think so I think so

00:49:21   no it's not normal in London so again

00:49:24   themes big thumbs up goals thumbs down

00:49:27   so what's going on in the airavata

00:49:37   okay I'm back with OmniFocus yes that's

00:49:40   what's going on right now I was I've

00:49:43   actually been talking to your co-founder

00:49:47   of real afm stephen hackett about this

00:49:49   on iMessage a bunch which is the cycle

00:49:52   of task management apps of going through

00:49:56   these regular cycles of one to the other

00:49:59   to the other it seems like stephenson in

00:50:01   the bit of uh he's in a bit of a

00:50:04   transition as well so we've been talking

00:50:05   about it a bit and i knew this was going

00:50:08   to happen and I feel like I have I have

00:50:11   mentally settled on a metaphor to try to

00:50:15   describe this process and I think it's a

00:50:18   bit like a forest fire where what

00:50:22   happens in life is you start out with

00:50:25   things really simple like I'm always

00:50:27   telling people hey when you're getting

00:50:28   started with task managers just start

00:50:29   with a piece of paper you don't even you

00:50:31   don't even know what you want you don't

00:50:33   need to get distracted by any of the

00:50:35   complexity and paper is fine so just

00:50:38   write down things did you want a piece

00:50:39   of paper and then eventually you realize

00:50:40   oh you know what I don't want to keep

00:50:42   rewriting these recurring tasks let me

00:50:44   try to find something and so you get o

00:50:45   to a simple task manager and then you

00:50:48   realize there's limitations in these

00:50:50   simple task managers and you go to

00:50:51   something a little bit more complex and

00:50:52   you keep stepping it up and then you do

00:50:55   have something that is very complex and

00:50:57   then I think just

00:50:59   like what you're going through now I

00:51:01   personally find that at some point I

00:51:07   feel this sense of vague

00:51:10   overwhelmingness that's hard to pin down

00:51:12   feeling like oh I have a whole bunch of

00:51:13   things to do and that's when the forest

00:51:16   fire comes through and sweeps it all

00:51:18   clean all right and you just and then

00:51:19   you start over you like you know what

00:51:21   I'm just gonna be here with my iPad in

00:51:23   my virtual paper and I'm gonna write

00:51:24   things down like this for a little while

00:51:26   and I feel like it's a healthy cycle

00:51:29   because when the fire sweeps through

00:51:32   gosh part of what happens is it's a way

00:51:35   of discarding a whole bunch of tasks

00:51:38   that you were never going to get to

00:51:39   anyway I really I really would love a

00:51:43   nicer metaphor than the one you know

00:51:47   what about tides

00:51:49   it's an ass isn't that less aggressive I

00:51:52   don't like forest fires like you can't

00:51:55   we call it like just like the tide comes

00:51:57   in and it sweetens everything away from

00:51:59   the beach it's working nicer now Mike

00:52:02   you with your happy fuzzy life and your

00:52:04   happy fuzzy podcasts no it's a forest

00:52:07   fire because look I think it's

00:52:09   appropriate because it's very easy in

00:52:11   your life that I feel like the little

00:52:14   tasks they grow up and around sort of

00:52:17   just like in a forest like the forest

00:52:19   becomes too dense and also the forest

00:52:22   fire

00:52:22   you have to realize like the forest fire

00:52:24   is healthy for the forest right we're

00:52:27   not we're not talking about like Oh some

00:52:29   guy in California throws a cigarette out

00:52:31   of the window and the whole state burns

00:52:33   to the ground like oh it's a sight like

00:52:35   a forest fire out somewhere in like

00:52:37   Montana or Wyoming right where it's part

00:52:39   of the lifecycle of the forest and it's

00:52:41   actually required for seed pods to

00:52:43   germinate this kind of thing so I feel

00:52:47   like at the beginning of the year I went

00:52:49   through the forest fire when I was on

00:52:51   the gray keishon I stepped up to using

00:52:53   things which I totally loved and

00:52:55   definitely highly recommend but I knew I

00:52:58   was eventually going to go back to

00:52:59   something more complicated and then Omni

00:53:02   wrote their blog post about what their

00:53:03   plan for the rest of the year is and I

00:53:06   do like some of the things in there and

00:53:08   I thought okay things is kind of running

00:53:12   up against the limitation

00:53:13   of things and I also do have to say I

00:53:15   really appreciate it I wrote the

00:53:17   developers one particular question about

00:53:19   like Oh could they change a thing and

00:53:21   what I really love is unlike most

00:53:24   developers who will say oh we'll put

00:53:26   that on our list for consideration

00:53:27   things wrote back and said no we're

00:53:30   never going to do that look great I'd

00:53:32   rather know I'd rather know that you

00:53:33   never know you know that there's no

00:53:35   point waiting yeah exactly and so some

00:53:40   of the limitations and things just

00:53:41   became too limiting as I'm back into the

00:53:45   regular cycle of like regular podcasts

00:53:47   and regular work and a whole bunch of

00:53:48   other stuff I need something more so

00:53:50   anyway long story short I'm back with

00:53:53   OmniFocus and so that's what I've been

00:53:55   using for the past couple weeks and

00:53:58   almost certainly for the next six months

00:54:01   it's what I'm going to be using for a

00:54:03   while and then the forest fire will

00:54:05   sweep through and everything will start

00:54:06   all over again about this because you

00:54:10   know all right so I'll tell you right

00:54:11   now I'm playing with things because they

00:54:14   just added this new automation system

00:54:16   and it's really interesting and I'm kind

00:54:17   of just toying around with it like look

00:54:20   amazing I think that ultimately it

00:54:22   probably won't make me as comfortable

00:54:27   feeling is to do is does but I'm just

00:54:29   playing around to it because there's

00:54:30   some stuff that it can do which I've

00:54:32   wanted to do of a task manager for a

00:54:34   while but it didn't exist until now so I

00:54:37   I just want to see what that's like so

00:54:39   for example one big project that I have

00:54:41   is this show and posting this show just

00:54:47   from a point of like when the Edit is

00:54:49   complete is a two-day process full of

00:54:52   lots of things that need to be taken

00:54:54   care of and we've using something

00:54:58   incredible that Federer friend Federico

00:55:00   vtg came up with which I will link in

00:55:02   our show notes he created this like

00:55:04   natural language passing system in

00:55:07   workflow that can hand over a full

00:55:11   project into things but it has an icon

00:55:14   I've been adapting and tweaking with the

00:55:16   workflow to the point where I can get

00:55:18   like headings in a project which I've

00:55:22   never seen before in any task manager so

00:55:24   just like heading who's like one that

00:55:26   says audio

00:55:27   one that says video one that says

00:55:29   posting so it separates out the projects

00:55:32   I think I mentioned this last time as

00:55:33   these non meaningful dividers that it

00:55:36   things have which is lovely which is

00:55:38   absolutely lovely because it can break a

00:55:40   project up visually rather than just

00:55:42   this like sea of items that look exactly

00:55:45   the same

00:55:46   yeah it's so nice they in OmniFocus

00:55:50   there's a way that I can kind of trick

00:55:52   it which is to have these fake sub

00:55:54   projects and then have things listed

00:55:56   under these fake sub projects and the

00:55:57   those aren't real projects in the system

00:56:00   but I I do I don't like the the lack of

00:56:04   clarity where I'm what I'm looking at

00:56:05   the list I have to remember oh that's

00:56:07   not really a sub-project it's just a

00:56:09   thing that I've made so I can group a

00:56:11   bunch of similar things together it's

00:56:13   one of the very nice things about things

00:56:15   is the visual look of it and when I

00:56:18   first saw the headings I thought oh this

00:56:20   is dumb I'll never use this and turns

00:56:23   out actually one of my favorite things

00:56:24   in that app it's the headings is great

00:56:27   and it's so visually nice so like I've

00:56:31   been playing around with this project

00:56:34   this list of tasks and grouping them out

00:56:37   and using some of the there's a tool in

00:56:41   in workflow called magic variables which

00:56:45   was basically making variables like a

00:56:48   like a construction set and it means

00:56:51   that someone like me can use workflow

00:56:54   more simply so what I've been doing is

00:56:57   when I set the task when I say I want

00:57:00   this project to begin what I want is for

00:57:03   x to be entered into a to do manager

00:57:06   that a relative's at a time that I

00:57:08   started the project so right I want to

00:57:11   be able to start a project and be like

00:57:12   this thing needs to go off half an hour

00:57:15   from the point that I begin and no other

00:57:18   system that I've been able to use has

00:57:21   been able to do this so I thought to

00:57:23   myself oh I can do this in workflow

00:57:26   because I can go into workflow and I can

00:57:29   say okay by using their kind of date

00:57:31   tools what is the current time add 30

00:57:34   minutes to that time and then I can drop

00:57:37   it into Federico's workflow as a magic

00:57:40   variables

00:57:41   it can look at the time that I've

00:57:42   selected and been like 30 minutes from

00:57:44   now right and and I've been able to

00:57:47   piece that together in so I am playing

00:57:49   around with this it's just like a what

00:57:50   does that look like so then I end up

00:57:52   with this multiple day it's not finished

00:57:54   yet like this is taking me a while it's

00:57:56   multiple day project with everything

00:57:59   broken out which is all time relative

00:58:01   front this is exactly what I've wanted

00:58:03   for this specific project which is

00:58:06   posting this show which is one of the

00:58:09   like larger projects that I have purely

00:58:12   because I just there are a lot of little

00:58:13   pieces to it I don't want to get wrong

00:58:15   so I have wait I don't do this for other

00:58:18   shows because the process is is more

00:58:21   simple and it's more streamlined and

00:58:22   it's easier to repair if something goes

00:58:24   wrong but with our show it's a little

00:58:27   bit more tricky because there's also

00:58:28   like all of the YouTube stuff and you

00:58:31   know if if there's something wrong in

00:58:33   the audio it is way harder for me to fix

00:58:36   then with my other shows than adjust

00:58:38   audio right because I would also have to

00:58:41   change the video and like I just so I

00:58:42   like to make sure I've got absolutely

00:58:44   everything 100% taken care of before I

00:58:46   do anything so it's a huge list of tasks

00:58:49   and it looks like with this thing's

00:58:52   automation I can create a template able

00:58:54   project that I can run which will be in

00:58:57   a much nicer state than anything

00:58:58   OmniFocus has given me and to do this

00:59:00   has given me because I've built these

00:59:01   projects in both of these other apps but

00:59:04   I've never been fully happy about it and

00:59:06   it looks like that things can do that

00:59:09   and I don't know what this is gonna mean

00:59:11   for me but because I'm still playing

00:59:13   around of it on this point and the

00:59:15   reason I was laughing about all of this

00:59:17   is I have I think I have come up with

00:59:20   like a grand unifying theory about to do

00:59:22   apps okay know to do app will ever be

00:59:27   perfect because it is impossible to meet

00:59:30   the specific requirements of an

00:59:32   undefined

00:59:33   user base right everyone uses their

00:59:36   to-do app slightly differently even if

00:59:39   they follow a system like GTD everyone

00:59:41   has their own preferences so like it is

00:59:43   impossible to create a perfect to-do app

00:59:46   because nobody can ever be satisfied

00:59:49   because no one is ever fully satisfied

00:59:52   when a new app comes along

00:59:55   there's always the promise of maybe this

00:59:57   is the perfect one

00:59:57   is the perfect one

01:00:00   and that's why you move to it and you

01:00:02   just keep doing this in the hopes that

01:00:04   over time something will become perfect

01:00:07   but the funny thing is it never will

01:00:10   yeah I mean this is why I've always said

01:00:12   like the the market for to do apps is

01:00:13   infinite because everybody thinks about

01:00:15   things in different ways but there's

01:00:17   even there's even more granular problems

01:00:21   like one of the things that has been on

01:00:25   my mind

01:00:25   in my move back to hominid focus when

01:00:27   I'm getting the heavyweight stuff set up

01:00:31   like I always feel like going going

01:00:32   OmniFocus is bringing in the big guns

01:00:34   like we're serious now and we're heading

01:00:36   into a real serious phase of work yeah

01:00:39   but there's a so here's the thing even

01:00:44   an an individual user who has a clearly

01:00:47   defined idea

01:00:48   so OmniFocus for me has my projects in

01:00:53   it so things like posting podcasts and

01:00:55   videos and other clearly work-related

01:00:57   stuff I have a constrained use for it I

01:01:00   know how to use the system everything is

01:01:03   great but even then you don't always

01:01:07   want your to-do app to have the same

01:01:10   behaviors at different times and so for

01:01:13   example when do I want OmniFocus to

01:01:16   alert me about something when it's due

01:01:20   ahead of time like eat and right then

01:01:23   there that immediately throws you into

01:01:26   all of these problems of well the app is

01:01:29   designed to set alerts when a thing is

01:01:31   due so you have to build your whole

01:01:34   system around the concept of okay if I

01:01:36   want alerts

01:01:36   I need the due dates to be when I expect

01:01:39   the alerts to be right and this is just

01:01:40   like behavior in a single app and to do

01:01:44   managers are always going to run into

01:01:47   that problem of you have to adapt

01:01:51   yourself a little bit to however they

01:01:53   think of things but like when I was when

01:01:56   I was using the things app I was very

01:01:58   aware of okay I need to build my system

01:02:02   around the way they manage the today and

01:02:05   the anytime lists and it's like okay

01:02:08   this is great this is fine I can get

01:02:10   this to work but you're always going to

01:02:12   run up against a moment where you feel

01:02:13   like

01:02:13   oh but I want this thing to appear in

01:02:16   the today list in a way that the app is

01:02:19   never going to to do it so even within a

01:02:22   single app or within a single user

01:02:24   you're going to want inconsistent

01:02:27   behaviors that are impossible to program

01:02:29   for like oh I I do want alerts on

01:02:33   deadlines but not for these tasks right

01:02:36   but I do want them for those tasks or I

01:02:38   want an alert for these things but I

01:02:40   don't want to put a deadline on them

01:02:41   right so is it it's just a it's a

01:02:44   fundamentally impossible area and this

01:02:47   is one of the reasons why for years now

01:02:49   I have actually used multiple to do apps

01:02:53   because I try to categorize different

01:02:57   sorts of activities that I'm looking for

01:02:59   and this this is why I like the

01:03:03   longest-running one now is to do for me

01:03:06   the number two do where I use that for

01:03:11   what I think of as my starting the day

01:03:14   and ending the day in other routines

01:03:16   because I can have that app act the way

01:03:20   that I want these particular kinds of

01:03:23   tasks to be and that app happens to be

01:03:26   really great at the ability to say sort

01:03:29   of reset a day where it's like oh man

01:03:31   I've totally blown off all my routine

01:03:33   stuff but I just want to press two

01:03:34   buttons to like reset tomorrow and at

01:03:37   twenty things just work it's like that's

01:03:39   great that's totally fine it works

01:03:41   because there's a constrained set of

01:03:43   things in that app and they're

01:03:46   quarantined from OmniFocus which is a

01:03:49   different kind of thing where like

01:03:50   resetting a day is a fundamentally

01:03:52   impossible thing to do so even even if

01:03:56   you're willing like me to go to the

01:03:58   mental effort of saying I'm going to

01:04:01   division certain kinds of tasks that

01:04:04   make sense to put these ones over here

01:04:05   and those ones over there you still

01:04:07   always run into this problem of we kind

01:04:10   of want to do managers to read our minds

01:04:13   and show us exactly what we want to see

01:04:16   when we want to see it in a way that is

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01:06:23   this show great let's do some ask cortex

01:06:26   questions I need to lighten this mood a

01:06:28   little bit I need to I need to go out

01:06:30   into the world and pick some questions

01:06:33   from our listeners to help me right now

01:06:37   so that sound good if questions from the

01:06:39   listeners will

01:06:40   help you Mike let's do questions for the

01:06:42   listeners gray it always helps me and

01:06:45   the first one comes from Chad and Chad

01:06:47   says if you were applying for a new job

01:06:49   today and had to update your resume

01:06:51   what fonts would you choose uh do you

01:06:58   have like a preferred font for stuff

01:07:00   well no what my brain was just mentally

01:07:06   rolling back there is realizing that the

01:07:08   last time I put together a resume I was

01:07:14   doing it in latex I don't have any idea

01:07:17   how I would reset what is that like a

01:07:23   letterpress what is that okay Mike

01:07:25   anybody who's done a PhD they will know

01:07:27   what later oh look at you um if you'd

01:07:30   have done a PhD then you'd know no

01:07:32   because because obviously you don't know

01:07:35   Mike you didn't do a PhD well I didn't

01:07:39   do a PhD either right just just to be

01:07:43   clear here I closest I got to a PhD was

01:07:47   dropping out of a master's course and

01:07:49   sorry dr. grey I came across it because

01:07:52   when I was a physics student the people

01:07:54   who were doing the PhDs introduced it to

01:07:56   me and they're like oh hey here's this

01:07:58   thing that you can use to write papers

01:08:00   and you actually hit precisely what it

01:08:03   is it's if you think of the monk who is

01:08:06   manually typesetting a book latex is the

01:08:09   is the computer version of this so I

01:08:13   would say it's like a think of like

01:08:16   markdown make markdown ten times more

01:08:20   complicated but it has a whole bunch of

01:08:23   commands that allow you to produce a

01:08:26   thing that looks like it has been

01:08:29   professionally typeset latex is a thing

01:08:33   that will produce just beautiful

01:08:35   beautiful looking documents how is it

01:08:39   spelled capital L lowercase a capital T

01:08:43   lowercase e capital X so why don't say

01:08:47   it lay tech because I get nervous about

01:08:50   how I'm supposed to say it because in my

01:08:52   head I would always call it late

01:08:54   but then people would tell me that I'm

01:08:56   pronouncing it wrong and I think it's

01:08:59   supposed to be lei tech and I've heard

01:09:02   people say la tech I've heard a million

01:09:05   different things but all I know is if I

01:09:07   ever say it out loud and I say latex

01:09:09   then the people who are actually doing

01:09:11   PhD starts coughing and they're like oh

01:09:13   okay well you don't really know this

01:09:15   thing but anyway the reason the reason I

01:09:19   was mentally rolling it back is because

01:09:21   I would just use a ton of the defaults

01:09:23   in this markup language so I have no

01:09:25   idea what font that would have picked

01:09:28   from it was spitting out my resume so uh

01:09:30   I don't know I don't know Chad I would

01:09:33   pick I would pick a safe font I think

01:09:37   that's I think that's what I would do

01:09:39   something nice and safe but presumably

01:09:41   in this scenario I would be applying to

01:09:43   a school and you just want to convey

01:09:46   safety and boredom in that in that

01:09:49   resume as a as um as someone looking to

01:09:52   get another physics teaching job so

01:09:54   you're gonna be like Arial Calibri or

01:09:56   Times New Roman

01:09:57   yeah times new roman' thats probably

01:10:00   which way would go yeah what about you

01:10:02   Mike

01:10:02   Joe common and Comic Sans let's really

01:10:05   just wrap this one up no I I have to

01:10:13   [Music]

01:10:16   figure it out that's like me yeah - I

01:10:22   like Gotham and Futura no good they're

01:10:27   good the fonts that I like a future a

01:10:31   bold mm-hmm and Gotham

01:10:35   I think medium I like my favorite so I

01:10:37   would try and find something within

01:10:39   those typefaces to use in future and

01:10:42   Gotham because I like them and

01:10:45   especially Gotham it can look just

01:10:48   relatively normal looking like future in

01:10:51   many styles can be like a little bit too

01:10:53   much right you you kind of look like

01:10:56   you're really going for a thing but you

01:10:58   know that they're my to know my two

01:11:00   favorites although I am very very

01:11:03   partial to a font in Google Docs called

01:11:05   creepster

01:11:07   which I use quite liberally on show

01:11:10   notes document when there's the thing

01:11:11   that we have to talk about that you

01:11:13   don't want to talk about so like

01:11:15   business stuff is is all written in the

01:11:18   creep stuff on which is bad like bloody

01:11:21   dreary home right you'll you'll put that

01:11:26   at the top of our shared document and it

01:11:27   will just say q3 scheduling right

01:11:31   because you don't want to convey that

01:11:35   everyone understands right it's like

01:11:38   this is scary stuff but we have to do it

01:11:41   mmm Nathan asked on the topic of the

01:11:45   year of order I'd love to hear an update

01:11:47   on how both of you deal with email these

01:11:50   days especially we're helping your

01:11:52   assistants have either of you tried

01:11:54   services like missive to let assistants

01:11:57   triage your inbox I don't I don't really

01:12:04   want to talk about email because because

01:12:07   I question for you next I will just say

01:12:13   that like you are feeling

01:12:15   overwhelmingness one of the things that

01:12:18   for me triggered the idea of I need a

01:12:19   year of order is that my year of

01:12:22   redirection left I'll put it this way it

01:12:27   left all of my communications with the

01:12:30   outside world in total chaos

01:12:33   including my email the number of times I

01:12:36   opened my email last year was very very

01:12:39   few and so while I have I have many sub

01:12:45   projects that are going on in the year

01:12:47   of order I want to set up my physical

01:12:49   space and then I want to work on my

01:12:52   routine and get that really narrowed

01:12:54   down but one of the one of the things

01:12:56   immediately after that is I need to work

01:13:01   my way through this terrifyingly large

01:13:06   communications backlog that I have on

01:13:08   many fronts across many things so I

01:13:12   don't really want to talk about email

01:13:13   now I'm gonna have to deal with that at

01:13:16   some point later a couple of days ago we

01:13:19   were talking

01:13:20   and you kind of mentioned in passing I

01:13:23   haven't looked to email in months and I

01:13:27   just there's like a part of me that's

01:13:29   like I can't believe that that is true

01:13:32   like you can't mean that like absolutely

01:13:36   right

01:13:38   well I mean sometimes websites will send

01:13:42   you verification codes through your

01:13:43   email and you need to click on those

01:13:44   right and so yeah I've opened email for

01:13:47   that sort of thing but as we have

01:13:50   discussed as we have discussed in the

01:13:52   past though almost almost everything

01:13:56   that is of any importance to me now

01:13:59   either people just know to contact my

01:14:02   assistant directly because it will get

01:14:04   them vastly faster turnaround then

01:14:08   trying to contact me directly or its

01:14:10   things through slack so part of this is

01:14:13   a structural problem that I try to limit

01:14:17   how much time I spend on administrative

01:14:20   stuff and so slack and things coming

01:14:25   straight from my assistant are much

01:14:26   higher up on the queue of importance and

01:14:29   so the hit rate and email has gone way

01:14:32   down but I do really mean it that is I

01:14:34   have not I have not looked at email in

01:14:36   any meaningful way in a very very long

01:14:39   time I have an enormous backlog of who

01:14:43   knows what in there and it's it is time

01:14:46   to it's time to get out the shovel and

01:14:49   go through that at some point in the

01:14:51   future but not not today not tomorrow

01:14:54   but you know later there are so many

01:14:56   things that mean you agree upon when it

01:14:59   comes to getting what done what our

01:15:02   approaches to email yeah yeah polarizing

01:15:06   yeah I think about that every time I see

01:15:09   an email notification on your watch

01:15:10   right and it's like and I would just

01:15:12   wanna be clear I totally know that that

01:15:14   works for you right and it clearly does

01:15:16   but it makes me it makes me sort of

01:15:18   smile on the inside every time that

01:15:20   we're together in person and I see a

01:15:22   little poop and there's the email

01:15:23   notification on your watch and it's like

01:15:25   this is one area where we live very

01:15:27   different lives if I use the application

01:15:31   email right now like to do apps

01:15:34   ever fully satisfied of email

01:15:35   applications but I have it set with all

01:15:39   of the preferences on my iPhone and even

01:15:41   on my iPad

01:15:42   that basically an inbox like so a list

01:15:45   of email you can kind of see in like an

01:15:48   inbox view maybe about seven or eight

01:15:50   emails a time

01:15:52   kind of like in at one time if I have to

01:15:55   scroll that list

01:15:56   I am very uncomfortable mm-hmm so at a

01:16:00   given time there is typically never more

01:16:03   than eight emails in my inbox and

01:16:05   they're not being hidden like they're

01:16:08   being one way or another dealt with

01:16:11   mm-hmm we have very very different

01:16:13   approaches to email it's really very

01:16:17   different in regards to sharing email

01:16:19   with people that I work with I would

01:16:22   like to try and find a system for this

01:16:24   eventually because right now it's a lot

01:16:26   of forwarding going on which it's not

01:16:30   ideal really oh yeah right I need and

01:16:33   it's also with the situation I'm in the

01:16:35   way that I've got things working for me

01:16:37   it also wouldn't work for me to share my

01:16:40   email inboxes they'd be way too much

01:16:42   discussion about what email needs to be

01:16:44   dealt with by who mm-hmm I want to be

01:16:47   able to find an application or a service

01:16:49   where you can kind of like assign email

01:16:52   but I haven't been happy with anything

01:16:54   that I've seen so far maybe one day I

01:16:56   would like that but the triaging of my

01:17:00   inbox is currently served by my Apple

01:17:03   watch

01:17:03   that is my triage assistant is my own

01:17:06   little watch and Anil ash asked how do

01:17:09   you manage your personal business email

01:17:11   do you separate them across different

01:17:13   applications or do you keep them all in

01:17:15   one app you use unified inboxes I'm just

01:17:17   assuming that like it's all goes in one

01:17:20   huge bucket for you and it all is not

01:17:22   dealt with yeah that's correct one

01:17:24   gigantic unlooked at payal yup great

01:17:26   even when I've been more on top of my

01:17:28   email in the past I've never really

01:17:31   found the hassle of multiple inboxes

01:17:33   worth it for me again that that's a

01:17:35   side-effect of the way I have structured

01:17:37   my businesses but I've just I've never

01:17:39   found the payoff to be worth it I have

01:17:42   everything all go into one place you're

01:17:44   gonna find in bots one application

01:17:46   personal business email

01:17:47   because honestly like email that is

01:17:50   personal is not personal really like all

01:17:55   of the email that I get will be deemed

01:17:57   going to a personal account it's still

01:18:00   like transactions and things that need

01:18:02   to be checked upon you know like it's

01:18:04   never really like my buddy sending me an

01:18:07   email people don't email me like they

01:18:09   have other ways to contact me right that

01:18:12   like it tends to be all work no matter

01:18:14   what email address is going to this one

01:18:17   comes from Rafael gray has commented a

01:18:20   couple of times about taking note of

01:18:22   every idea that he has so you can get

01:18:25   Muffy's mine and deal with him later

01:18:26   how does gray deal with having ideas in

01:18:29   bed right before sleeping does he pick

01:18:31   up his phone and take notes or does he

01:18:33   just let it go and hopes that he

01:18:35   remembers the idea the next day okay

01:18:37   this is gonna be really unhelpful but I

01:18:40   fall asleep very fast so I get into bed

01:18:45   and then it's morning so this is not a

01:18:51   problem that I really have to deal with

01:18:53   you made a we had a disgruntled noise

01:18:56   there Mike I'm guessing this is not your

01:18:57   situation no it's not my situation is I

01:19:04   have to just wait until I can't be awake

01:19:07   anymore okay and so I do thank you sleep

01:19:12   yes that's why I go to bed at like 2:00

01:19:13   a.m. because it's like body can't step I

01:19:16   like sleeping hate going to sleep mm-hmm

01:19:21   want some sleep inks awesome don't want

01:19:23   to stop it but the act of like going to

01:19:27   do it I hate it I hate mm-hmm so like I

01:19:31   just would do things until I can't be

01:19:33   awake anymore there's like this weird

01:19:35   thing like in my admirer I feel like I'm

01:19:37   just kind of just wasting time like I

01:19:39   might as well just be reading Twitter

01:19:40   for an hour and wait until like my

01:19:42   eyelids are so bad I think everything in

01:19:48   my life that would be deemed unhealthy

01:19:50   the way I approach sleep is do is the

01:19:52   least healthy part like it's it's really

01:19:55   bad

01:19:55   I can see though that it sounds like you

01:19:58   and my wife are using the same sleep

01:20:00   strategy which is

01:20:01   only only when exhaustion grasps you by

01:20:05   the throat rips you and you cannot

01:20:08   escape is that like I'm a little sleepy

01:20:12   I lay down boom

01:20:13   almost immediately I'm asleep that I

01:20:17   would hate that

01:20:18   well luckily you don't have to suffer

01:20:19   from that bike yeah I'll sleep next to

01:20:22   you I guess because that would also

01:20:24   drive me mad yeah let's not do that