The discipline

William Van Hecke has an interesting idea for how to use his time. Based on a concept he read in a Neal Stephenson novel, he organizes his time in ten day periods: Time is divided into ten-day decades. (We commonly use the word “decade” to mean ten years, nowadays, but prior to the 16th century, it could mean any collection of ten things, including days.) I love my desynchronized rhythms; the 10-day decade and the 7-day week create a healthy polymeter that drifts in and out of sync over time. At the start of each decade, I choose a template…

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Intentional days with Sunsama

Intentional days with Sunsama

I have done well to stay away from new productivity apps the past couple of years. I'm still using Things as my main repository of projects and AoR (areas of responsibility) — this has not changed since Things 3 arrived and I wrote about it for The Sweet Setup. The biggest change in recent years has been the use of pen and paper for daily planning and tracking. I still do this today (currently with a Do Journal from Baron Fig, but I'm also looking forward to Analog from Ugmonk). However, I recently invested some time into trying a new entrant…

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Analog

A few years back, on a trip to see the Wildbit team in Philly, I had the chance to meet Jeff Sheldon in person. I believe it was at that time that he shared the beginnings of an idea for a paper-based productivity tool. Months and months later, Jeff finally shared that idea with the world. I’ve had the chance to try a few different versions of the cards he designed during those months, and I can say they were good from the start. If you like paper, and you enjoy uncomplicated ways to manage your life, Analog is…

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Should I focus on habits or my task list?

Habits are in focus at this time of year more than any other. My recent reading of Atomic Habits and testing various habit tracking apps has had me evaluating how I get things done and how I plan my time. I’m not alone. Here are other authors writing along similar lines: Cal Newport: habits vs. workflowsRyan Holiday: how to develop better habitsShawn Blanc has been writing recently in his newsletter about goals and his teammate Isaac Smith recently wrote about weekly reviews for your goals on The Focus Course blogOne thing I’ve begun to ask myself is whether…

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My zettelkasten

Alan Jacobs gives some insight into how he keeps track of things when doing research for a book. Reading the post, you come to know he’s tried many ways of organizing things, but he’s recently begun following the methods of Niklas Luhmann’s Zettelkasten system. He shares how he had thought he was too late in life to adopt this system, but… But ultimately, when I was working on The Year of Our Lord 1943, I realized that the demands of my research — trying to track the thought and writing of five figures working in complete isolation from…

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Why single-tasking is your greatest competitive advantage

The Doist team continues to put out good content about topics that interest me. Single-tasking is the focus of this one and while they do not make any surprising points, it’s a great summary of why this is an important habit to develop. They do give one tip that I personally don’t agree with: using multiple spaces on the desktop (a macOS feature). I limit myself to four desktops only: one for communication windows (Gmail, Slack, Todoist, Sunrise Calendar) and the other three for the windows associated with different projects I plan to work on that day. I…

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