101: Productivity 101


00:00:00   I'm recording, I've got the backup recording going.

00:00:02   Are you actually recording though?

00:00:03   Okay, I'm looking at the recording. I see the waveform going up and down.

00:00:08   Right, because I have had multiple occasions recently where you have said

00:00:12   "I'm recording" and I remember you saying "I'm recording"

00:00:15   I've got the backup recorder going as well.

00:00:16   But in the audio that I am provided by you, I never hear the words "I'm recording".

00:00:22   So are you recording?

00:00:23   There's 100% chance that I'm recording.

00:00:26   Although you can never be 100% sure, so I'll say 99% sure that I'm recording.

00:00:30   Levels levels.

00:00:31   Levels levels.

00:00:32   I very frequently have people ask me, "Have you ever spoke about why you use a to-do app,

00:00:41   and what other apps that you use?" And my usual inclination for that answer is like,

00:00:47   "Yes, but on 20 episodes of Cortex, I have no one place that I could even start to imagine

00:00:53   Pointing you to write and it's easier now for like when someone says to me yearly themes

00:00:58   I know those episodes now right and like we've condensed it over time

00:01:02   So now on every yearly themes episode we talk about the themes in the abstract a little bit before getting into the rest, right?

00:01:10   But what I thought of outside of the original set of episodes and then some that's come since there are

00:01:18   Some core parts of productivity like to-do apps email time tracking

00:01:23   Communication and calendaring these are things that we talk about all the time. They're very important

00:01:30   We talk about the apps that we use but maybe not so much for a while

00:01:35   Have we spoken about why we do these things that we do?

00:01:39   Mm-hmm. So I thought for episode 101 we could do productivity tools 101

00:01:45   I think you like that mainly because of how it works with the title and I completely agree.

00:01:50   It's two parts of it. I like how it works with a title and I'll never forget the episode to point people to.

00:01:55   Yeah, that was your main pitch to me.

00:01:57   It's like, look, I want to be able to have an episode when people ask,

00:02:00   "Can you tell me about why you use these systems that you can point them to?"

00:02:05   And you're like, "I'll never forget the number 101, so let's just make it that episode."

00:02:10   And I completely agree.

00:02:10   I think probably the one to start with is to-do systems because it is the core of productivity, right?

00:02:18   Like it's the very central part is your task manager.

00:02:23   So I was thinking about this earlier today and there is no one true way of being productive, right?

00:02:30   There's no one answer for everyone. There's no one system that's going to work for everyone.

00:02:37   Each person needs to pick and choose the parts that work for them and the parts that don't

00:02:42   work for them.

00:02:43   And this is the process of figuring out how to manage one's own life, is finding the parts

00:02:47   that work for you.

00:02:49   And even though there isn't one true system, I think sometimes you can divide people up

00:02:55   into a spectrum.

00:02:57   And I think one of the biggest spectrums of how people manage their life is the spectrum

00:03:04   of task manager and calendar.

00:03:09   Some people are much more on like the calendar is primary

00:03:12   and the task manager is secondary.

00:03:14   And some people are more task manager is primary

00:03:17   and calendar is secondary.

00:03:19   I think both of us are pretty heavily on the task manager

00:03:23   as foundational side.

00:03:25   And so I think that like,

00:03:26   that's why we're going to start here

00:03:29   because to both of us,

00:03:30   I think it's sort of inconceivable

00:03:32   of if you were taking someone whose life is disorganized and they're holding up this mess

00:03:39   which is their life and they're saying "how do I get started trying to get all of this in shape?"

00:03:43   Both of us would say "to-do system, this is where you need to start, this is where it all begins."

00:03:50   I think part of the reason for me as to why I believe that as strongly as I do is I think

00:03:57   people that believe in the to-do system as core still use calendars frequently,

00:04:04   but from my experience of people that believe in calendars as the ruler don't necessarily even use

00:04:11   a task list of any kind. Just everything goes on the calendar. Just in my experience of people that

00:04:19   run in one of those ways, that kind of seems to be the way that things break down. Because I believe

00:04:24   both are very important. And I wouldn't say equally important, but they, I believe, are

00:04:31   mutually important. Like, you should use both. Because they need each other, I think, to be able

00:04:36   to work effectively. But I, like you, believe that the to-do system is the core of everything.

00:04:43   Because one of the main things for me is I also am aware of myself enough that I know that,

00:04:49   no matter how many tasks I set for myself on a day, I won't always do them all. And one of the

00:04:55   great things about a task list of any kind is that you have the ability to move stuff. You see that

00:05:02   they're overdue. You didn't complete them. But with a calendar, by and large, it's gone once the

00:05:09   day has passed. Unless you have a system of checking the previous days, but if you're doing

00:05:15   that, then you really ought to be using a task list or to-do system of some kind, because

00:05:21   at that point, that's the life that you're living.

00:05:23   Yeah, I agree. Like, I think to try to really start at the foundation of this, of… there

00:05:30   was a long-ago, long-dead-now version of Grey, who never used a to-do system, and floated

00:05:39   through life just like, you know, sometimes doing stuff and sometimes not doing stuff.

00:05:45   And eventually he got to a point in life where he realized he could not manage all of the

00:05:50   things that needed to get done.

00:05:52   And it is so specific to me of exactly when that moment was when I was in teacher training

00:05:57   school and they gave me this enormous list of a hundred plus things that all had to be

00:06:05   completed in order to get your teacher certification.

00:06:08   And I remember like, "Oh no, I'm never going to be able to keep track of all of this."

00:06:14   because some of them were really huge items, some of them were really teeny tiny small ones,

00:06:18   and I'm like "I'm never gonna keep track of this." And so one of my very first versions of trying to

00:06:25   figure out how am I gonna actually get all of these things done was taking this huge list that

00:06:33   the university gave me and turning it into a spreadsheet and trying to be like "Okay,

00:06:38   Let me try to break this down in a way so that this is the list that the university is going to use

00:06:45   to decide whether or not I become a teacher, but I need to turn this into a list that makes sense for me.

00:06:53   Aha, right, like this is a criteria that they have. Now let me make it into a selection of

00:06:59   things that I need to have achieved. Yes, and even just like wording changes,

00:07:04   or "What do these things mean in my own life?"

00:07:07   A to-do system, if it's functioning well, this is part of the job that it does.

00:07:12   It's like, it's your translation of what the external world is requiring of you.

00:07:20   And like, getting it into a frame that makes sense for you.

00:07:24   Everybody's brain is different, and you just want to have stuff organized in a particular way.

00:07:32   And so like that was one of the very first times I was actually getting serious about trying to keep track

00:07:38   because I knew like, I knew me and I was like, "I am gonna totally fail if I just try to do this the way I've done school before of like,

00:07:46   I'll remember most things," right?

00:07:48   And that's the other big part of a to-do system is don't try to remember stuff.

00:07:54   I think this can also be a very regular progression for people in life is that

00:08:00   You're growing up and the world manages a lot of things for you

00:08:06   and you can sort of get by by just remembering things but like again at some point in life

00:08:12   usually past the point when you should have recognized it you come to a stage where it's

00:08:18   just like there's there's too many things to remember you you cannot rely on your own brain

00:08:24   to keep track of all the things that you need to know.

00:08:28   And the penalties for forgetting things start to become real.

00:08:31   Yes, yes. They're not pretend penalties like in school where they're like, "Oh,

00:08:36   you're gonna have a conversation with the teacher and they're gonna be very upset with you." And

00:08:42   it's like, "Okay, and then what?" "Well, then you go back to class." Right?

00:08:46   Like, yeah, no, then they start becoming, you know, real, meaningful, impactful on the rest

00:08:54   of your life kind of problems. And this is also the part where for me I started keeping track of

00:09:00   a notebook, of just like writing stuff down in a notebook and referring back to it. People often

00:09:07   ask me like, "Oh, when you first started using a notebook, like what was the system? What were you

00:09:10   doing?" And the answer is there was no system at all. It was just getting in the habit of

00:09:16   if there's something in your head, get it out of your head and put it on a piece of paper. And

00:09:23   as long as you come back to that piece of paper on some regular basis,

00:09:27   you'll start to build up your own kind of system.

00:09:31   Like, of course we spend pretty much all of our time talking about how

00:09:35   our apps and devices are the things that we use to keep track of this stuff,

00:09:41   but pen and paper is the absolute best way to begin.

00:09:47   Oh, for sure.

00:09:47   With making lists.

00:09:49   And this is like, you know, take notes and that kind of stuff,

00:09:52   but making lists, lists of things you want to do, lists of things you should do.

00:09:56   And that's how I started, right? Like I was kind of predisposed to this.

00:09:59   My entire working life I've always had some kind of to-do list checklist,

00:10:04   because I was perfectly placed for it as a person that has a predilection for two things,

00:10:10   pens and paper and nicely designed apps.

00:10:12   Oh right, of course. Yes, that makes much more sense that this path was much more obvious to you

00:10:17   than it was to me.

00:10:18   Because I wanted to have an excuse to use pens and paper, or like, OmniFocus looks like

00:10:25   a nicely designed application for the iPhone.

00:10:27   I'll get that boy in his first banking job that nobody cares about him, but he's got

00:10:34   like a 25 pound application that he's using, right?

00:10:37   Like yeah, that's what I'm gonna do.

00:10:40   But you know, so I have always found it very easy to start this stuff, because I wanted

00:10:48   to use the things that were involved in it.

00:10:50   But if you don't come at it from my perspective,

00:10:53   and most people don't, they come at it from Greg's perspective,

00:10:56   starting in the same places, pen and paper, is perfect.

00:11:01   Because it removes, by its simplicity,

00:11:06   the complications that any application will give you.

00:11:10   Like any half-decent application,

00:11:12   all of the apps that we'll talk about today,

00:11:14   of the stuff that we use, they want projects from you.

00:11:18   They want dates and times from you.

00:11:21   They want notification access.

00:11:24   They want to be able to integrate

00:11:26   with this part of the system.

00:11:28   They want so much and it can seem like a big hurdle

00:11:31   to jump over, but if you just start by getting a notebook

00:11:35   of any kind and a pen of any kind and just writing down

00:11:38   every day, like these are the things I have to do

00:11:40   or want to do or a combination of the both,

00:11:43   you check them all off, and then the next day,

00:11:45   you just write that list out again.

00:11:47   Like, that's the start of any of these types of systems.

00:11:51   And no matter what you end up graduating to,

00:11:53   and maybe it's nothing, because for many people,

00:11:55   this is a perfectly valid way to keep it going,

00:11:58   is just to write out a pen and paper list every day.

00:12:01   No matter what it is you end up graduating to,

00:12:03   you will benefit from having spent the time

00:12:05   at these real basics.

00:12:06   If you really don't want to use a pen and paper,

00:12:09   any notes app, just like a bulleted list, right?

00:12:12   like Google Keep, Apple Notes, they'll all let you make checklists, right?

00:12:17   You can just use those and it's nice and simple.

00:12:19   Yeah.

00:12:20   I mean, my entire teaching career when I was teaching physics, I ran all of the

00:12:26   organization of, you know, what classes do I need to prepare for, what needs to be

00:12:31   done.

00:12:31   That was an entirely paper-based system.

00:12:34   Sometimes I was just using index cards and sometimes I was using some pieces of

00:12:39   paper on a clipboard and teaching is a job where there's like there's a million

00:12:42   things to keep track of and paper is totally up to that task like you don't

00:12:47   need a digital system. Again if someone is listening to this and they're at that

00:12:52   starting point where they just feel overwhelmed right you know like they've

00:12:57   come to this show because someone has said oh start with this episode if you

00:13:01   don't know where to start right and then like okay well the probability then is

00:13:04   as the person who might be feeling overwhelmed about like,

00:13:06   "What do I do?"

00:13:08   And you have a problem with that of like,

00:13:11   you want to try to solve this feeling of overwhelmedness

00:13:15   and you wanna try to solve like, I don't know what to do.

00:13:17   So you have a problem,

00:13:19   which is that your life is disorganized.

00:13:22   Well, if you're trying to also learn a to-do app

00:13:25   at the same time, now you have two problems, right?

00:13:28   And it's like, this doesn't help you at all.

00:13:31   And yeah, any notebook will do,

00:13:34   One of my favorite things to do with people when they're overwhelmed is to either take like a bunch of A4 pages and cut them in half or take index cards and just like

00:13:46   start writing down on each half sheet of paper or each index card something that's on your mind.

00:13:53   The garage is a huge mess like and you put that on one index card. Just like start writing down this stuff that's on your mind and

00:14:02   This is where I really think paper does have an advantage that there is something more real

00:14:08   about physically writing with your hand

00:14:11   to get out the thoughts in your head than typing them in a list.

00:14:16   And it's still something that I do now years later as a person who feels like I have my life very well organized.

00:14:23   Three, four times a year, like, I'll just sit down with some index cards or some paper and just start

00:14:29   writing out some stuff as a kind of calibration of where I am.

00:14:34   And when you do that, you'll naturally start to see...

00:14:39   You know, the reason why I think like index cards are half pieces of paper is you kind of start to see,

00:14:44   "Oh, these things are all related," right?

00:14:47   You know, or "These things are connected to each other," or like,

00:14:50   "This thing really needs to happen before this thing?"

00:14:53   And with just paper on a desk, you can move it around

00:14:58   and put things that are related near each other.

00:15:01   And again, I think that process of physically moving the things in your life around

00:15:07   is much more helpful than digitally moving items up or down a list.

00:15:13   If you want to feel like you're in control of something,

00:15:15   physically moving it will definitely help you.

00:15:18   [laughter]

00:15:19   Yes, I have power over this task,

00:15:22   because I can move it anywhere on this desk.

00:15:24   This task can't move me, look how flimsy it is!

00:15:27   Yeah, it's just a piece of paper. Yeah, that's an excellent point there. So that is the great

00:15:32   place to start. And once you've done that, then you can start looking at some of the specifics of,

00:15:38   okay, you know, how do I want to organize this? And you should almost certainly start with paper

00:15:43   lists. But even then, you've now separated the get everything off your mind phase from the,

00:15:49   how do I want to organize it going forward phase, which is completely impossible if you're just

00:15:55   starting with a to-do app that you're not familiar with.

00:15:58   No matter how simple it looks,

00:16:00   like they all have their weird quirks

00:16:02   that Paper just doesn't.

00:16:03   So I think that's really a place to start.

00:16:06   - Yeah, starting with a very, very, very simple

00:16:09   not to-do app.

00:16:10   Pen and Paper, thoroughly recommend,

00:16:12   but if you really don't wanna do that,

00:16:13   every device has a Notes app, use the Notes app.

00:16:17   Once you start doing that for a while,

00:16:19   I think you'll start to get an idea

00:16:20   of to what things feel important to you.

00:16:22   So like one of the things that pushed me to an application

00:16:26   was all right, I like having this stuff,

00:16:28   but I want something to tell me to do it.

00:16:32   So therefore, I needed notifications, right?

00:16:34   Like that if, you know, I can write these things down,

00:16:37   but I still have to remember that this task

00:16:38   has to be done at two o'clock on Wednesday.

00:16:41   Well, when you start getting to those kinds of areas,

00:16:44   that's where you need to start looking

00:16:45   for an application of some kind.

00:16:48   And there are many, many options.

00:16:51   think it would be too much for us even to try and list the things that we've used.

00:16:56   But I think these days, there really are… I think that there's even more kind of like

00:17:03   agreement on the stuff that people use. Even in like the last couple of years, it feels

00:17:08   like there are less of these types of applications now.

00:17:10   B: Oh, do you think there's been a… because I don't follow the market very closely,

00:17:15   but do you feel like there's been a consolidation of to-do apps over time?

00:17:18   Yes, and I think there's a couple of reasons.

00:17:20   One, too many means that they can't all exist, right?

00:17:23   You can't make enough business models that way.

00:17:25   And there's also been consolidation for purchases,

00:17:28   like our good old friend Wunderlist is gone now.

00:17:31   - Oh, I know that Wunderlist disappeared.

00:17:34   - Did it take the app dying for me

00:17:36   to get you to say it that way?

00:17:37   - It caused a great disruption in the life of my assistant

00:17:41   who ran everything on Wunderlist,

00:17:44   and she was going down on a sinking ship

00:17:47   and there was a lot of like, "Help, help, what do I turn to?"

00:17:50   So I'm very aware they're gone.

00:17:52   - The original founder is starting a new app

00:17:55   called Superlist.

00:17:57   They're serious, like they are.

00:18:00   I don't know when it's coming,

00:18:01   but like that's the thing that's happening.

00:18:03   - Right, but you need a silly way to say that one.

00:18:05   You need to be able to call it like Mooperlist or something.

00:18:07   - Well like Supperlist.

00:18:10   So these days, I think really, Todoist,

00:18:15   I think Todoist is king because it's everywhere.

00:18:17   So like it's the easy recommendation.

00:18:20   But then depending on the platform you use, there are other options.

00:18:24   Obviously, we are both way more familiar with the iOS side.

00:18:28   Yeah. And so like OmniFocus things, they're like the big these these three.

00:18:33   They're like the big heavyweights in this from the sense of they are popular,

00:18:37   but also they have a lot of potential complexity to them.

00:18:41   You know, you can add your due dates and times,

00:18:44   but you can also start adding projects and tags,

00:18:48   contexts and all these wild things,

00:18:51   which really you should only start looking into

00:18:53   if you feel that your needs are not being met.

00:18:57   - Yeah, obviously I'm not very familiar with Todoist

00:19:00   because I find myself physically repulsed by it

00:19:02   every time I try.

00:19:03   - It's getting better all the time.

00:19:05   - I'm sure it is, but I just found like,

00:19:07   oh, the physics of the way this button slides, I hate.

00:19:11   Everything about it just rubbed me the wrong way,

00:19:13   but to be fair I haven't used it in a while.

00:19:15   But this is also the thing where

00:19:17   selecting a to-do app for yourself

00:19:19   can be really picky.

00:19:21   Yes, it's a difficult task to undertake.

00:19:23   Yeah, and I think it's why

00:19:25   even if there has been consolidation

00:19:27   in the market, there's still like

00:19:29   infinite room for new players to come in

00:19:31   and try because everybody's always picky

00:19:33   in their own little ways.

00:19:35   This is one of the things where

00:19:37   it's kind of funny that paper

00:19:39   kind of has a psychological advantage

00:19:41   because you never find yourself thinking,

00:19:44   "Oh, I wish this paper did this."

00:19:46   Right?

00:19:46   Like your brain just accepts it

00:19:48   as a physical object in the world.

00:19:50   Whereas with to-do apps,

00:19:51   you're always gonna be a little bit like,

00:19:52   "I wish it did it this way."

00:19:54   My flow of recommendation would be,

00:19:58   you know, if you're picking an app for the first time,

00:20:02   I usually recommend things to people.

00:20:04   I think it's a nice combination of looks good,

00:20:09   It's easy to use and it has some, but not too much level of complexity in it.

00:20:16   Uh, so like things is my starting recommendation.

00:20:20   I find things are difficult starting recommendation.

00:20:23   Okay.

00:20:24   Why?

00:20:24   Because it's, it's in the sense of applications expensive and unlike.

00:20:30   To do it and only focus has no get in the door for free.

00:20:34   Hmm.

00:20:35   Yeah, that is true.

00:20:36   That was true.

00:20:36   I think things is a good second step after reminders.

00:20:40   I find myself always forgetting reminders these days from these lists.

00:20:46   Reminders has a lot of the basics in it now, which it didn't before.

00:20:51   So reminders is another option for a first step.

00:20:54   But I do agree with you.

00:20:59   It's designed so well, it makes it nice to use.

00:21:03   I find that it has some fundamental problems which stop me from using it.

00:21:07   Like this is something that I've noticed along with like some friends for years.

00:21:12   Like this is pretty esoteric, but it's important for me.

00:21:15   Like if you have a repeating task, you cannot complete it before the day it's due.

00:21:20   OK, right. I see what you mean. Yeah.

00:21:22   So if I have a repeating task every Wednesday, but on Monday

00:21:25   I completed that task, it won't let me check it off until Wednesday.

00:21:28   And that's just like, what are you doing? Right.

00:21:31   Like it's such a weird quirk.

00:21:34   So there are things like that where it's like,

00:21:35   that would frustrate me too much.

00:21:37   And this is the thing you've got to understand

00:21:39   about all these types of applications.

00:21:40   Like none of them will work the way

00:21:42   that you want them to completely.

00:21:44   And it's about what level of this is okay enough.

00:21:47   Because all of these applications are built

00:21:50   by people with their opinions.

00:21:52   And this is a very particular part,

00:21:56   I would say probably the most particular of all of these,

00:21:59   like even more so than email.

00:22:01   the to-do system, people want it to work the exact way that they want it to work, and

00:22:05   nobody wants to work the same as anybody else.

00:22:08   Yes, yeah.

00:22:09   That's what I mean by there's always infinite room for new entrants into the market, because I do think it is

00:22:16   literally the most picky software category that can possibly exist, that also a large number of people use, and are like

00:22:25   "I just wish it was a little different this way." I guess I sort of bounce off reminders,

00:22:30   but you might be right that I should update that of like

00:22:32   Reminders is the place to start if you're willing to pay for a thing that looks beautiful

00:22:37   Things is a place to start because I do think things maximize is on the beauty scale

00:22:43   Yes, but it is both of those apps. I think

00:22:47   once you get the hang of putting your life in lists

00:22:51   and

00:22:53   You you start to think about the concepts of the repeating tasks and all this other stuff

00:22:58   You will know very quickly if you're the sort of person who is going to outgrow those apps.

00:23:05   And then that's where for me, OmniFocus sits at the top of the list as an extremely heavy weight

00:23:13   option. But you'll know if you feel like this isn't working for me. And Todoist also seems

00:23:20   like it has much more flexibility. It's not OmniFocus level though.

00:23:24   I didn't say that it was. Nothing is.

00:23:26   You'll know if you outgrow reminders and you're looking for something else.

00:23:29   I thought it might be useful for us to talk about, at a basic level, what our systems look like.

00:23:35   So for me, every task that I enter gets two things, and that's really the core of my system.

00:23:45   So every task gets a due date and time assigned to it. Even if I don't really have a set time or

00:23:54   or date that something needs to be completed,

00:23:56   I will just assign one to it.

00:23:58   And then I can choose later on if I want to move it.

00:24:01   But I think to myself, either A,

00:24:03   when does this need to be done by,

00:24:06   or B, when would I like this to be done by?

00:24:08   That's every time I start a task, I put that in there.

00:24:11   Because then it always shows up

00:24:14   in my list of upcoming tasks in Todoist.

00:24:16   Because otherwise they kind of like sit off on the side

00:24:19   and I may forget about them.

00:24:21   And I very frequently review what I've got

00:24:23   the next few days and move them around. The second thing that every task gets is a project.

00:24:29   And I break these projects down into different areas of responsibility in my work or personal

00:24:37   life. So I have projects that are focused around preparing for shows, editing shows. I have them

00:24:43   for general admin stuff. I also have personal and long-term personal projects, that kind of stuff.

00:24:49   So I have these little buckets that I will put my tasks into.

00:24:53   And this just helps me kind of visually see what areas I need to be thinking about.

00:24:58   But also if I think to myself, oh, I want to just sit down and do some editing today,

00:25:04   what editing projects do I have upcoming? I can click in and see those.

00:25:08   Now, my system is purposefully kept quite basic in this way.

00:25:13   I think this is like the most basic an advanced system can be, is to have these things,

00:25:18   is to have a sense of setting due times on everything and setting projects for everything.

00:25:25   Because then you can start going to other levels and Gray will have these I'm sure where

00:25:29   you're like setting start dates and defer dates and tags and locations and all that

00:25:36   kind of stuff. And I have dabbled in it but for me personally I have felt that none of

00:25:42   those things helped me be more productive and if anything increase the amount of time

00:25:47   it would take for me from having a thought to getting it into Todoist. So now I have basically

00:25:53   boiled my system down to the basics of like a task has a name and it has a date and time set to it

00:26:02   and it will have a project set to it. In some instances I may add some notes to the task

00:26:08   or I may add some dependent tasks to that one task, right? So like yes I also need to do these

00:26:14   three other things to call this one thing complete, but that stuff is rare for me. It

00:26:19   really is kind of just the project and the due time.

00:26:22   This is another one of these things about learning how you work.

00:26:26   Yes.

00:26:27   Because everyone who uses a to-do system, I think it tends to coalesce around something

00:26:34   in that to-do system which is primary for them. And the system that you're using I think

00:26:39   is the most common, where people put a due date on every item.

00:26:43   That is the most important part.

00:26:45   The projects I could take or leave, the most important part is having a due time because

00:26:48   otherwise I'll tell you it's not getting done.

00:26:50   But this is what I mean is like so your system then you think of all of the things in terms

00:26:57   of this of like there is the due date and the due date is central and I think like that's

00:27:03   a really common system.

00:27:05   It doesn't work for me.

00:27:06   I hate the due dates and it's also why like oh I find other systems frustrating but this

00:27:11   This is where you just need to learn what it is that works for you.

00:27:16   And so one of the main reasons why I stick with OmniFocus is I almost never use due dates.

00:27:23   Like I'm on the extreme opposite end of mic.

00:27:25   In my whole system, very, very few things have a due date attached to them.

00:27:31   Because conceptually for me, if there is a due date that's attached, it has to mean like

00:27:37   Like there's a real hard external problem that occurs if this due date is missed.

00:27:45   What I end up doing is I have a system that is primarily based around availability.

00:27:52   Like which tasks are available to me to do right now?

00:27:57   And this is where OmniFocus and our old friend, remember the milk, are the only two task managers

00:28:06   I've ever come across that handle this kind of availability-centricness as well as they do.

00:28:12   So like you, my basic structure is, in OmniFocus I have a bunch of folders for general areas of my

00:28:19   life, like, oh, this is work, here's a folder for my personal life, here's a folder for miscellaneous

00:28:26   things, and then within that I break it down by the categories of, like, okay, here's all the

00:28:31   videos that I'm working on, here are all the podcasts that are in motion, here's miscellaneous

00:28:36   other things that need to get done. So everything is like structured in this kind of hierarchy where

00:28:42   I can build out all the different parts of like what are all the steps that need to happen in

00:28:50   order for an episode of Cortex to go from, you know, nothing to published on my end. It's like,

00:28:56   okay, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom. Here's a whole long list of those things. You know, here's all

00:29:00   the steps that are necessary to get a video from conceptual phase to published. So I have that

00:29:06   structure, but then the thing that OmniFocus allows me to do by having stuff categorized with

00:29:12   their advanced features like tags is to be able to say, "In the morning, when I wake up

00:29:19   and I get into the office, what is it that I want to do? I primarily want to focus on

00:29:26   writing tasks or research tasks. And so, OmniFocus then lets me just quickly see,

00:29:32   here are the writing projects that past Organized U has considered to be the top three that you

00:29:39   should be working on. And so, I don't have to look at the whole structure of the project,

00:29:46   I can just pull out the couple parts that are relevant to me in that moment. So, that's what

00:29:51   I mean by like an availability centric process or you know sometimes I feel like I can just tell

00:29:59   I'm not quite in the right mood to write something but I have recorded a bunch of research questions

00:30:06   that I want to try to get answers to so let me try to like knock off a few of those and like here we

00:30:11   go in OmniFocus let me pull up like here's 10 questions I just made a quick note of while I

00:30:15   was working on a project of like you know how many of x is y or like when did this thing originally

00:30:21   start and now like use this time to go try to track down a bunch of these. And that's the sort

00:30:26   of system that works really well for me. But it does have a much more upfront cost in knowing how

00:30:33   to categorize things and using advanced features like defer dates that will hide things for you.

00:30:39   But the reason that is important to me is because I know from experience I cannot stand it when a

00:30:47   to-do list manager has any way where you can see items that you cannot check off right now.

00:30:55   And like, I just cannot stand that and so I'll put in a lot of effort to make sure that the system is

00:31:00   only showing me the things that I can do at any particular moment. So that's like the availability

00:31:06   system. That's what works for me. So like your most important buckets are fixed to either times

00:31:13   or locations, right?

00:31:15   B: Yeah, the way I'm slicing the tasks is, I would say, times, locations, and energy

00:31:23   level kind of stuff.

00:31:25   So I have a few ways where I can look at what are a bunch of work tasks that are easy for

00:31:29   me just to knock off right now.

00:31:32   Communications clearing is one of these things where sometimes it's like, "Oh, I have

00:31:37   to interact with the outside world.

00:31:39   me pull up this list of like everything I've made a note on that requires communications

00:31:44   and let me just try to clear a bunch of these and it's like oh write an email to this expert

00:31:48   about this thing you know or get back to this person about this thing and so like let me

00:31:53   just knock off a bunch of those in a row so that's the way I always want to look at that

00:31:57   kind of stuff.

00:31:58   If this sounds complicated it's because it is complicated and this is why OmniFocus is

00:32:02   good because OmniFocus will allow you to create effectively rules or filters which say like

00:32:09   "If this is set to this and this is set to this and it's these times of the day, show me this."

00:32:14   And so it's a very complicated system, but what makes OmniFocus the best at what it does

00:32:21   is if you are the type of person that wants to attach a bunch of metadata to a task,

00:32:27   you can do some incredibly powerful things.

00:32:29   But it's also why it's not a good starter program.

00:32:31   It's going to have way too much. It's going to really overwhelm you.

00:32:36   It's expert level. It really is expert level.

00:32:38   And it's also a lot of the stuff that I'm able to do, I'm doing because I have shortcuts in iOS that are assisting me.

00:32:47   So, like, I'm not interacting with the application directly. Like, I have little templates for

00:32:53   "This is what a video project looks like. This is what every episode of Cortex looks like."

00:32:57   So I'm able to put in a huge number of items that have been pre-categorized by me in the past,

00:33:04   because otherwise it would just be too overwhelming to do it each time.

00:33:07   Or, like, when I say, "Oh, this is like a research question that's related to a project,"

00:33:12   I have a very quick way with shortcuts where I can write as little as possible,

00:33:18   and shortcuts will handle just "put this in the correct place and file it,"

00:33:22   because that's the way I solve the problem of what you were saying before of

00:33:26   you don't want it to be a heavyweight issue to input something into the system.

00:33:32   putting something into the system should be really easy. But if you want to put something

00:33:38   into a complicated system in a really easy way, that does require a lot of upfront work in order

00:33:45   to do. Or you could run these applications the way that they were kind of created and intended,

00:33:51   which is you just enter everything very basically and then review the tasks and add that data

00:34:00   later. So you would sit down once a day or once every couple of days, look at everything that

00:34:05   you've entered into the app's inbox, and then assign it the information that it needs.

00:34:10   B: Yeah, yeah. OmniFocus does have a review feature where they specifically allow you to

00:34:15   see all of the stuff that they think you should be looking over and categorizing. And like,

00:34:20   that is totally fine. But I just find like, if you're using OmniFocus, you're probably using it

00:34:27   because you have a lot of items, right? Like, the people I speak to who are using OmniFocus,

00:34:32   none of them have a small number of projects, right? They're all doing this same thing where,

00:34:37   like, they've got a lot of projects with a lot of items in it. And so, I think their review can

00:34:42   become a little overwhelming when you start having a huge number of things. And so, the assistance in

00:34:49   inputting is really important. But I really love it. Like, it's totally for me, but it is a real

00:34:56   investment to learn how to use it properly, but once you have it, it's fantastic.

00:35:00   Just as a little thing here, not connected to OmniFocus in particular, but for someone

00:35:04   putting together their own to-do system just in general, a little tip that I really like

00:35:10   and I cannot remember where I originally came across this, but for almost any of these apps,

00:35:15   you're going to have this concept of there's a project and then the project has little

00:35:21   actions that you're going to complete to get that project done.

00:35:25   systems will have this at least the this two-tier concept project and actions and I think it's really helpful to

00:35:33   always try to write the project in the past tense as

00:35:39   in like

00:35:41   What is the state of the world when this project is complete? So it's like

00:35:47   teacher certification acquired right cortex episode published

00:35:54   "research thesis submitted" that kind of stuff. Like I think it's really helpful to write that in the past tense

00:36:01   and then you write the actions that they have to have a verb in there. There's an action that you're clearly

00:36:08   taking, right? "Go to

00:36:10   library." There's a direction there and I've just always found that really helpful

00:36:15   when you're looking over your projects. There's something about that past tense

00:36:21   writing of the project that I find really provokes my brain into coming up with what are the verbs we

00:36:30   need in order to make this happen. That's just my little like recommendation there for how to do

00:36:35   this is like I find that extremely helpful no matter which system you're using and I try very

00:36:41   hard to stick to that with all of my projects and all of my actions. It's like past tense and verbs.

00:36:48   This episode of Cortex is brought to you by Raycon. Whether you're working from home or

00:36:53   working on your fitness, you want what you're listening to to be what you choose to listen to.

00:36:59   You don't want to be listening to your roommates on a conference call or a vacuum cleaner in the

00:37:02   apartment next door. Everybody needs a great pair of wireless earbuds. But before you go

00:37:07   dropping hundreds and hundreds of dollars on a pair, I want you to check out Raycon's wireless

00:37:12   earbuds. They start at about half the price of other premium wireless earbuds on the market and

00:37:17   and they sound awesome.

00:37:20   Compared to other top audio brands,

00:37:21   you are getting significant value for your money.

00:37:24   These things sound really, really good.

00:37:26   Their newest model, the Everyday E25 Earbuds

00:37:29   are their best yet.

00:37:30   They feature six hours of playtime,

00:37:32   seamless Bluetooth pairing, and more bass,

00:37:35   all in an even more compact design

00:37:37   that gives you a really comfortable,

00:37:38   nice and noise-isolating fit.

00:37:41   Raycon's wireless earbuds are super comfortable

00:37:43   even after long periods of time.

00:37:45   They're perfect for conference calls

00:37:47   or for listening to podcasts like this one. Raycon's wireless earbuds are stylish, they're

00:37:51   discreet and they are truly wireless. No cords or wires to get in the way. I was really impressed

00:37:58   with these. They're super small, they're very light and comfortable and they fit my ears

00:38:02   perfectly. The seal in them is really really good. The case is really small and packs a

00:38:07   powerful battery as well and the magnets are very satisfying when you open and close it

00:38:10   like this. It's tiny, really really small case which is awesome considering it has the

00:38:17   battery in that it does. It will recharge your earbuds 3 times which is fantastic. They

00:38:22   also have a button on the earbuds themselves which gives simple and easy controls for pausing,

00:38:27   skipping tracks and more.

00:38:29   Now is the time to get the latest and greatest from Raycon. You can get 15% off your order

00:38:35   at buyraycon.com/cortex.

00:38:38   That's B-U-Y-R-A-Y-C-O-N.com/cortex

00:38:43   for 15% off Raycon wireless earbuds.

00:38:46   One last time, buyraycon.com/cortex.

00:38:49   Our thanks to Raycon for their support of this show and Relay FM.

00:38:53   This next category, email systems,

00:38:57   I've both been dreading the most and looking forward to the most.

00:39:00   The wheel.

00:39:03   I like talking to you about how you handle email because it's always such a fun thing for me.

00:39:08   Right. But then we have to talk about email apps and I will state my long-running mantra at this

00:39:14   point that no email apps are good. It does not exist. There is no email app which I have ever

00:39:22   been able to find with the exception of Juan Sparrow. Rest in peace, Sparrow. You know what,

00:39:28   actually mailbox I preferred mailbox to sparrow mailbox is the app that was

00:39:32   built by Dropbox we had a feature that I still to this day cannot believe that

00:39:37   nobody else has copied which is the ability to rearrange emails in an inbox

00:39:41   it's shocking no one will let you do that I can't believe it it was it was

00:39:46   like when that app was first being teased that was the thing that was

00:39:49   everyone was like wow right like that you would be able to just drag and drop

00:39:54   and just change the order arbitrarily.

00:39:56   I can't believe nobody's tried to do that.

00:39:58   Everyone's just like, look at us,

00:40:00   we've got a smart email inbox that uses our AI.

00:40:03   No, I don't want your AI in my email.

00:40:06   I want to just rearrange it with my own eye, right?

00:40:09   My own intelligence, I don't need no fake intelligence.

00:40:12   See, look, I've already started.

00:40:13   We haven't even started talking about it,

00:40:15   and I'm getting angry.

00:40:16   - Well, look, the reason it gets angry

00:40:18   is email's gonna make you angry, right?

00:40:21   And the problem with email, the fundamental problem with email,

00:40:25   is it's the uncontrollable interface with the outside world, right?

00:40:31   You can be at your desk with your nice pen and your nice paper, and you can make

00:40:35   the lists however you want, and nobody can come along and just like start messing

00:40:41   with your paper if you're just sitting, you know, sitting quietly on your own.

00:40:45   But if you're trying to handle your email while you're handling it,

00:40:48   stuff's going to come in, right?

00:40:50   And it's like, what is this?

00:40:51   It's such a frustrating thing.

00:40:53   Compared to most of the other things that we're going to talk about today, the

00:40:57   underlining, like where the data is coming from, you have no control over with email.

00:41:03   Like with to-do apps, with calendar apps, by and large, like whilst these things

00:41:10   are influenced by outside elements and maybe some of it is shared, you are still

00:41:17   controlling the data that gets put into the systems.

00:41:21   But with email, it's just coming in,

00:41:24   and you can't stop it, right?

00:41:26   Like, whatever it is, from wherever it's coming from,

00:41:31   it's just gonna be there.

00:41:33   And there are some tools that are trying to change this,

00:41:36   which I wanna, we're gonna talk about these

00:41:38   in a later episode of Cortex,

00:41:40   because I think it's kind of very cute and hilarious

00:41:43   that there are companies that are trying to change,

00:41:45   quote unquote, change email.

00:41:46   - Oh boy.

00:41:47   in the slack way but as in like we have changed the fundamentals of how email works. We will

00:41:53   park that for today. But from a perspective of how we manage email, I am much more typical.

00:42:01   P: Yeah, I want to know your philosophy of email.

00:42:04   S: Email comes in and I deal with email, right? Like I really don't… I don't prescribe to inbox

00:42:10   zero in the way people now believe what that means. The original intention of inbox zero is

00:42:17   basically as a way to categorize your email and then handle it where people think that Inbox Zero

00:42:23   is "get my inbox to zero" which is not correct by the basic idea of what the phrase is supposed to

00:42:30   mean. Nor do I think that trying to achieve Inbox Zero, which is what every email app seems to applaud

00:42:37   you for these days, right? Like if you have a nothing in your inbox they put up these little

00:42:41   graphics and they're like "ah you've got nothing in your inbox!" Like that is not a goal to try and

00:42:46   Aspire to because it's only going to fill up again. Even if you get there. It's going to be really fleeting, right?

00:42:52   Yeah

00:42:52   Well for me my basic philosophy is try and have as little email in my inbox as possible

00:42:58   Because it has been dealt with

00:43:01   Right, so which so I think really my personal philosophy is closer to the original

00:43:05   idea behind inbox zero of

00:43:08   Process the email, right?

00:43:11   Like that's what you're supposed to do and for me that takes forms of either a replying to it or be removing it

00:43:17   Right, like that's kind of how I deal with my email

00:43:19   But I am much more traditional and I have notifications for my email

00:43:24   So I want to know when the emails coming in in case it's something important and I will handle the email

00:43:30   My personal rule is to not let my email inbox scroll off my iPhone too far

00:43:36   Like I don't want

00:43:38   - I like the immediate addition there of too far.

00:43:41   (laughs)

00:43:42   - Well, 'cause again, it's like,

00:43:44   if I am being too rigid with this,

00:43:47   then I am imposing upon myself something

00:43:50   which I can't control

00:43:52   because the email's going to keep coming.

00:43:54   - Right.

00:43:55   - So like for me, with my task lists,

00:43:57   I try to not let my daily tasks go into double digits.

00:44:02   - Right.

00:44:02   - And so I can control that by moving things around.

00:44:07   But the way I would control email is just like,

00:44:09   I'll just delete everything.

00:44:10   But that's not helpful, right?

00:44:13   I can't just keep deleting emails until I'm at the level

00:44:16   that I want to be at visually, you know?

00:44:19   So multiple times a day, we'll handle my email.

00:44:22   A lot of my email is handled as it's coming in.

00:44:25   I'll see something that I want to respond to

00:44:27   and I will respond to it or I will remove it, right?

00:44:30   Like one of the reasons that I have notifications

00:44:33   is so I can triage my email as well.

00:44:35   So when I come to my email inbox,

00:44:37   the stuff that I didn't want to see has been archived

00:44:40   because I archived it when the notification came in.

00:44:43   And I use a service called Sanebox

00:44:46   that does some email filtering for me.

00:44:48   So like some of the newsletters that I receive

00:44:50   can actually just be put into a folder

00:44:52   so it's not filling up my inbox, which I enjoy,

00:44:55   because otherwise the newsletters that I'm paying for,

00:44:58   they would be archived

00:45:00   because they'd be taking up space, you know?

00:45:02   - Right, right.

00:45:03   I feel like I'm very typical in like email is a massive part of my work.

00:45:08   And so handling it in a prompt manner by replying to the messages is effectively

00:45:13   how I handle email.

00:45:15   And I think that that is a very typical system for most people in any type of

00:45:20   corporate job, right?

00:45:22   I learned these skills working in a corporate environment.

00:45:26   I don't necessarily think that they are the best thing for people's mental

00:45:31   health to like always be in the email.

00:45:33   So it does require some level of self-control, which I've just built over time.

00:45:39   But I feel better knowing what's happening with the type of job that I have.

00:45:45   And so getting email coming in via notification works better for me.

00:45:50   And I've noticed a better improvement for me since I stopped getting those notifications

00:45:54   on my wrist and just left them on my phone.

00:45:57   I feel like that's much better for me.

00:46:00   getting the notifications but like they're not physically interacting with me anymore

00:46:05   by tapping me on my wrist to tell me the notifications here. That's just my general

00:46:09   role of Apple Watch now. Like my Apple Watch is on Do Not Disturb all the time. It is not a

00:46:15   notification device for me at all anymore which is kind of funny because that's what it initially was

00:46:19   when I started using one. But yeah, so that's where I am with email though. Like the email comes in,

00:46:24   I try and manage the email and that's it. You're triaging like the triage at a hospital when

00:46:30   people come into the emergency room like right away, you know, try to take care of that.

00:46:34   I'm triaging in the sense of how triage should be done, like, which is right away.

00:46:39   Like if you're triaging in a hospital by letting everybody build up and just deal with it in

00:46:44   two weeks, like, that's bad triage.

00:46:46   Yeah, that's how I triage.

00:46:47   Yeah, which is bad triage.

00:46:49   Once every two weeks we decide what's urgent.

00:46:52   No, people should 100% listen to you when it comes to how to handle email and not listen

00:46:58   to me.

00:46:59   somewhere in the middle is like ideal but I think that the realistic part of it is that my way of

00:47:05   managing it is kind of the way that it needs to be managed because that's the expectation of the world.

00:47:12   Yeah, yeah I'm in a bit of a not helpful to most people situation of being able to largely ignore

00:47:22   email mostly and also being at the receiving end of a ridiculously large amount of email.

00:47:30   So like I'm just at an odd intersection. But the thing that I can say here though is that

00:47:36   I've been using emails slowly much more because of some project shifts that sort of coincided with

00:47:44   Year of Clarity stuff where I've had to be able to interact with the outside world more in a direct

00:47:50   way. Like if I'm reaching out to experts for things like I need to be able to reply to those

00:47:55   people and like get their feedback back. And you know, if I'm arranging things, I need to be able

00:48:00   to know if something has changed on a more frequent than never basis like it was before.

00:48:05   So it's been kind of interesting to me kind of coming back to email. But my triage system, which

00:48:12   I do think would still work, even if you're using email much more frequently is I use email

00:48:17   exclusively on my Mac because of one feature of Mail, the default application that Apple has,

00:48:26   which is these smart mailboxes where you can set a bunch of rules. And so I've returned to the

00:48:33   the thing that I did years and years ago when I was more an email of of using smart email boxes to

00:48:40   to be able to triage the category of people.

00:48:45   And so it's like, okay, I use Apple's VIP system

00:48:48   to tag people who I want to be able to reply to

00:48:51   on a relatively quick basis.

00:48:53   So that's like my assistant or other people

00:48:56   that I'm working with or experts relevant

00:48:59   to an ongoing project.

00:49:00   Like I can tag those people as VIPs.

00:49:04   And it does allow me, by then just having those people

00:49:07   one particular group. It allows me to very quickly see, "Has that person gotten back to me or have the

00:49:13   plans changed at all?" and I was like, "Nope, okay, fine." And I can just kind of close it. So

00:49:18   it pulls out those important things to me. And then my second level down is everybody else who's

00:49:25   in my contact book on the computer in some way. So it's like, "Have I ever created a contact card

00:49:31   for this person and in many ways that is now my real inbox and I do my best to clear that one,

00:49:39   although it can still be quite a lot sometimes, especially because I'm not looking super frequently.

00:49:43   The real killer thing to me about the smart mailboxes is adding a bunch of rules so that

00:49:50   I can pull out all of the automated notifications that you get in email from like a million billion

00:49:55   systems. There is some of this that you could do with Gmail, right? Oh yeah, yeah, I like, I know

00:50:00   know that this is possible in Gmail, I just like, I find the, because I use Apple's smart

00:50:07   features in a bunch of other apps, like I'm already really familiar with the system and

00:50:11   it works like it works with a bunch of other stuff.

00:50:13   It's criminal that they still have not brought these to iOS.

00:50:16   I'd like, I remember thinking like, oh, this, this will be here any day. And it's

00:50:19   like 10 years later, they still have not imported it over. And same with smart albums on iPhoto

00:50:24   and smart, smart playlists are to some extent on the music, but yeah, I think it's crazy.

00:50:30   But yeah, so I do now try on a regular basis as part of my like reviewing the system to

00:50:35   clear at least like the top two levels of the VIPs and people who are in my address

00:50:41   book in some way and then look at all the automated notifications.

00:50:45   And then after that is like the like the pit of infinity of just like all of the random

00:50:50   emails from people I have no idea who they are.

00:50:54   I can't fathom you ever opening that folder.

00:50:57   Well, that's why I mean it's like the pit of infinity because what happens is…

00:51:00   Like looking into the Ark of the Covenant.

00:51:01   Yeah, by the time I've cleared the messages that I need to try to reply to, I'm so exhausted

00:51:07   already, right?

00:51:08   That I'm like, "I don't want to deal with this."

00:51:11   And again, why I'm in a situation that's not really applicable to many people, but

00:51:16   I think the people who are actually trying to get in touch with me and trying to figure

00:51:20   out like, "Oh, I think I have something that's useful for Gray.

00:51:24   what's the best way to get in touch with him are realizing like he's got a contact form on his

00:51:29   website that says please use this to get in touch that's probably the way and then like my assistant

00:51:34   is elevating those interesting messages up to me so it's like there is a really big filtering

00:51:40   effect here which is like one follow the rules right like yeah you can follow the rules then

00:51:47   maybe i want to hear what you have to say yeah yeah it's it's a bit like um you know a pro tip

00:51:53   for anybody who's applying for a job. For almost any job, the rules about how you're supposed to

00:51:59   apply for the job are part of the application. So even if there's something that you think is

00:52:05   dumb with the way they want you to apply, they're seeing can you follow the rules.

00:52:10   - Yeah, like whenever I've been hiring in Relay FM, like I want a resume and a cover letter,

00:52:16   and if you didn't provide a cover letter, well, I'm not gonna read your resume now.

00:52:20   - Yeah.

00:52:20   Because I asked for something and you decided not to do it or didn't read and I think both of those

00:52:28   two things would maybe indicate to me that I'm not sure how well we could work together.

00:52:33   Yeah, so that's roughly the way that I'm doing things now and the only like tip that I have here

00:52:39   is for me, email is largely interruptive, so it's a thing that I want to make a decision about.

00:52:48   I am sitting down and this is part of my, like an omni-focus, this is part of my clearing the

00:52:53   communications hierarchy. It's like, okay, I've cleared the top couple levels and now I'm getting

00:52:58   down to email and like I'm making a decision that I'm going to try to go through some emails.

00:53:02   And so because of that, because there's basically never going to be anything in email that's actually

00:53:07   urgent for me to deal with, I turn off all the notifications because they wouldn't help me with

00:53:12   the way that I work. Yeah, it doesn't make sense for you. And again, like for a lot of people,

00:53:16   I think a really great way to handle email is to have no notifications,

00:53:20   but to have a set time every day that you would sit down and look at it.

00:53:24   In previous careers, that's what I've done.

00:53:27   But like, right, I will look at email between 9 and 10 and between 4 and 5,

00:53:31   and that's going to be it.

00:53:33   And for many people in many careers, that's enough.

00:53:37   That really is enough.

00:53:39   But for a couple of reasons for me, one being that I do have things

00:53:44   that tend to be quite time sensitive and two, I have just learned over time

00:53:48   that I feel better that way, right? Like I've tried both models and the idea of

00:53:54   at four o'clock sitting down opening up my email and there being 40 things in

00:53:58   there, I hate that feeling. So dipping my toe into email frequently throughout the

00:54:03   day, marking off and getting rid of the things I don't want to deal with,

00:54:07   assigning things to other people quickly, I'll get to that in a moment, and then

00:54:11   leaving myself with the things that I have left, that can be useful for me and

00:54:16   then it also allows me to start linking these two things that we've been talking

00:54:21   about together. So I might have an email which I'm aware of is gonna take some

00:54:26   time to prepare a response to, so then it goes into Todoist. I will make a task,

00:54:30   right? Right, respond to this email and then that's out of the mental system then.

00:54:35   And even if I want to, then I could put it in a folder to deal with it later on.

00:54:39   Yeah, and this again goes back to the point that there's no one system for anyone and

00:54:45   my suggestions would be career suicide for many people and

00:54:50   Also, your suggestions would be career suicide for people like you've got a you've got to figure out what part of this works for you

00:54:56   I'm gonna say that my system is less

00:54:58   Significantly than yours, but oh, oh, yeah, but there are some people right where I think we know at least one person

00:55:07   through email the way you do.

00:55:08   Yeah, yeah.

00:55:09   I guess the only tip that I'll suggest here

00:55:12   that really does work for me that I find really helpful

00:55:14   is always sorting by sender, not sorting by date.

00:55:17   I find particularly as I move down the hierarchy,

00:55:21   that becomes more and more useful is,

00:55:24   let me just deal with all the messages from this person at once.

00:55:27   Or when you're getting into the automated messages stuff,

00:55:31   where it's like, oh, here's 20 messages from Amazon

00:55:35   that are all related to various purchases.

00:55:37   Like, is there anything that I care about in here? No.

00:55:39   Okay, I can just like archive 20 Amazon messages all at once, that kind of thing.

00:55:43   So I almost always try to sort by sender instead of sorting by date,

00:55:49   and I just find that makes it faster in batches sometimes of like,

00:55:52   there's three emails from this person,

00:55:54   I can quickly see only if the most recent one is relevant and just kind of get rid of it and

00:55:58   not feel like my brain has to boot up each time of like

00:56:03   Going down a list and being like oh, this is another message from this person

00:56:06   Is this relevant to the thing before like no no, I've already taken care of like this person and that's all closed

00:56:12   You know from an app perspective you mentioned Apple mail

00:56:14   Which even though you are using for a complexity thing like it has some powerful

00:56:21   Rule systems in it on the Mac the Apple mail system itself is one of the more basic email apps that you could find

00:56:27   Oh, yeah. Yeah, the actual interface of it is super basic, which I also value

00:56:32   you. Yeah. And feature wise, like in the sense of what an email app is expected to do in

00:56:38   the year 2020, Apple Mail is very low down in the totem pole.

00:56:42   It's a dinosaur. There's no boomeranging or whatever.

00:56:46   Snoozing tends to be the nomenclature these days. And so these are, you know, Gmail is

00:56:53   better at this kind of stuff as in like having modern features like Gmail will do like automatic

00:56:58   sorting for you if you want to, right? So it can automatically sort away

00:57:03   newsletters and stuff like that. And that's really great if you use Gmail. If

00:57:08   you don't use Gmail and use other email services, then you need to think about

00:57:12   other third-party apps. And there are many, there are many. And they all differ

00:57:17   in some way. The application that I have settled on is Spark. I don't particularly

00:57:24   like a lot of the app, like from a design perspective. There are things that

00:57:28   don't like about it but it has some features that I really have come to

00:57:34   value which is why I use it. So there are two key features for me these days for

00:57:40   why I use Spark. One is it has the ability in two taps for me to make an

00:57:47   email a PDF and then to upload it to somewhere. And this is really important

00:57:53   for me for accountancy purposes.

00:57:56   So I get an email receipt, I turn it into a PDF,

00:58:00   and then I have a shortcut that uploads it

00:58:02   to a specific Dropbox folder,

00:58:04   which is fed into a system that my accountant needs.

00:58:06   Right, so that's like super useful to me.

00:58:09   Every other application, it seems to be a pain, right?

00:58:11   Like you have to go to the print menu,

00:58:13   and then like you can have a PDF, like I hate that.

00:58:15   - You print a PDF to your fax machine, yeah.

00:58:18   - Yes, it's wild.

00:58:19   And then the other one, the most important thing

00:58:22   is that Spark has an email team system,

00:58:25   so you can share email with other people.

00:58:28   - Yeah, that's always sounded really killer to me,

00:58:30   as far as a feature.

00:58:31   - It's amazing.

00:58:32   I love that part of it.

00:58:34   Like, really, that's the main reason that I use Spark,

00:58:36   and won't look at other email apps now,

00:58:39   unless they have a similar system,

00:58:40   and there are not a lot that do.

00:58:42   So basically, this allows me to take an email message

00:58:45   that was sent to me, and put it in somebody else's inbox,

00:58:49   and have them handle it.

00:58:51   and then also have a conversation in line

00:58:55   that the recipient of the email does not see.

00:58:57   So I can talk to somebody like,

00:58:59   what do you think about this?

00:59:00   Can you do this?

00:59:01   Can you handle this?

00:59:01   And it's like a chat which is around the email.

00:59:04   It's a very cool system, it's very powerful.

00:59:07   If it went away, I would be devastated.

00:59:09   So that's why I use Spark.

00:59:12   - This here is also just an example of like,

00:59:14   yeah, I'm using a really simple and old app

00:59:17   that hasn't changed in, I mean,

00:59:20   basically a decade has been pretty much untouched.

00:59:23   And this is just another one of these cases

00:59:24   where if you're organizing your life,

00:59:27   like one of these key things to be aware of

00:59:29   is what do you want to spend your time on?

00:59:32   And like I have spent a lot of time

00:59:36   trying out all of the different to-do apps

00:59:37   and knowing them well and seeing what works

00:59:40   and what works for me.

00:59:41   And like that's a place that's worth investing in

00:59:44   because it's an area where I need a lot of complexity.

00:59:46   And it's also something that is open on my computer

00:59:49   24 hours a day that I'm always looking at. And email is a system that I spend an hour on

00:59:55   once a week or once every 10 days. And so for me, like investing time into what is the app that

01:00:03   could have me handle email the most efficiently is like a terrible return on investment in my time,

01:00:08   because I'm already using it so poorly that I just don't even consider like, "Oh, let me investigate

01:00:15   what the other email options are because it's not remotely a relevant bottleneck in my own process.

01:00:21   And I think this is something that you always have to keep an eye on.

01:00:24   David: But I think the thing that we've highlighted here for email

01:00:28   is that both me and Gray have established a thing which is really important to us and dictates the

01:00:34   choices that we make. So you want smart rule systems and I want team sharing, like delegation.

01:00:41   and those two things dictate the applications that we've ended up sticking with.

01:00:45   And I actually think this is an important part of choosing an email app now,

01:00:50   because all email apps, with the exception of Apple Mail, try to be everything and

01:00:55   don't really have the, in a lot of cases, like the design decisions that to-do apps do.

01:01:03   So this is why, like, whilst there are lots of to-do apps, there's lots of email apps,

01:01:07   I don't say there are no good to-do apps. There are good to-do apps, because a lot of them come

01:01:11   with an idea behind them. I feel like most email apps these days, they try to be everything

01:01:16   and they can't all be everything and I just think that ultimately they leave things behind.

01:01:22   And all of the best email apps that I've enjoyed have had a principle behind them and have

01:01:28   been designed thoughtfully about like this is how we want to help you handle your email

01:01:33   and I just don't really feel like that's the case these days and therefore all email apps

01:01:38   so bad. No email apps are good. You just have to find the one you like the most. You hate

01:01:45   the least.

01:01:46   Like the mmm, actually.

01:01:48   I can't bring myself to say like the most. I've tried basically every single email app

01:01:53   and there's always a problem. And look, I'll just say before people tell me the app that

01:01:58   they've used, I guarantee you I've tried it and there's something that I don't like about

01:02:01   it. One of the big problems for me is the services supported by an app. There are some

01:02:07   some apps that are fantastic if you only use Gmail, but I don't. So I can't use that application.

01:02:14   So like this happens a lot. So I just want to try and cover a few of these bases here.

01:02:19   Right, right. I know what you're doing. You're trying to like head off all the recommendations

01:02:24   and let me tell you abouts, right? Yeah.

01:02:26   Yeah, because trust me, I've tried them.

01:02:29   This episode is brought to you by Squarespace. Make your next move with Squarespace and create

01:02:35   A website for your next idea.

01:02:37   Squarespace will help you with a unique domain name, give you the ability to

01:02:40   customize award winning, beautiful templates and so much more.

01:02:44   No matter what type of website you want to create, Squarespace is the all in

01:02:47   one platform that will let you do it.

01:02:49   They have all of the functionality you could ever want.

01:02:52   If you want to start a blog, you can do that.

01:02:53   A portfolio, you can do that.

01:02:55   A site for your business, you can do that.

01:02:56   What if you want to sell physical or digital goods?

01:02:59   Squarespace can help you do that too.

01:03:01   There's nothing to install, patch, worry about or upgrade

01:03:04   because they cover all of that for you.

01:03:07   You don't have to worry about it at all.

01:03:09   And they have award winning 24/7 customer support.

01:03:12   So if you need help, they're there.

01:03:14   I've used Squarespace for years for so, so many projects,

01:03:17   actually like a decade now.

01:03:19   I've been using them for websites that I've been making,

01:03:21   because when I want to get something online, I want to get it online.

01:03:24   I don't want to have to think about setting up a website itself

01:03:27   and trying to work out how to do that from scratch.

01:03:29   I know how to build Squarespace websites because they're easy to do.

01:03:32   I'm comfortable with it.

01:03:33   It makes me feel confident in being able to get what I want on the web.

01:03:37   Their plans start at just $12 a month, but you can sign up for a trial today with no

01:03:41   credit card required.

01:03:42   So go to squarespace.com/cortex.

01:03:44   You can try it out right now, build your entire website, and then when you want to launch

01:03:48   it to the world, if you use the offer code "CORTEX" you will get 10% off your first purchase

01:03:52   of a website or domain.

01:03:54   Once again that is squarespace.com/cortex and the code CORTEX to get 10% off your first

01:03:59   purchase and support the show.

01:04:01   Our thanks to Squarespace for the continued support of Cortex and Relay FM.

01:04:05   Squarespace, make your next move, make your next website.

01:04:07   Should we talk about time tracking?

01:04:09   Honestly this is the one that I get the most.

01:04:11   I know it's almost a meme at this point that on our show we talk about time tracking, but

01:04:15   one of the main reasons we're doing this episode today is because of all of these things, the

01:04:20   that I hear about the most frequently is people asking, "Can you give me an overview or

01:04:27   tell me where to go to get an overview of your time tracking system?" And so now we

01:04:32   are providing it in this episode.

01:04:34   Okay.

01:04:35   And I think it's because time tracking I think is one of the newer, especially from

01:04:41   like doing it with your devices, some of the newer productivity ideas. Email, to-do, calendars,

01:04:48   Calendars, they've been around for a very long time.

01:04:52   Right, yeah. Calendars have been around since the Mayan civilization.

01:04:56   Well, calendars have been around for all of time, I guess, because otherwise it wasn't being recorded.

01:05:01   Would- I would just suppose-

01:05:02   No, time still happens if there's not a calendar to report it. I can-

01:05:06   If a calendar falls in the woods-

01:05:09   If a big bang happens in the nothingness, does it still expand? Yes. The answer is yes.

01:05:14   Someone had to write it down eventually.

01:05:16   Nevertheless, I feel like time tracking is one of the more new things for people to do of their own choice.

01:05:22   Like, the idea of timesheets has been around for a long time, right?

01:05:26   But that's typically something enforced upon you by an employer.

01:05:31   Yeah, it's interesting that you say that, like, that the people are asking about it,

01:05:36   because what it also just occurs to me is, I wonder if there's a little bit of the,

01:05:40   like a horror movie effect here where people are intrigued because they're also a little scared,

01:05:46   right? Like, you know, what will if I open this time tracking door, what's behind it?

01:05:51   And the answer is like, it's gonna be scary. I would say it's clarity. That can be good or bad.

01:06:01   Yeah, yeah. What you will learn is something about how wrong your brain is in estimating something,

01:06:09   whether it's that you work too much or not enough.

01:06:12   So that's the main reason why I started this.

01:06:18   You go back far enough, you've been doing this,

01:06:20   you had been doing this for a while,

01:06:22   and I, through having a bunch of conversations

01:06:25   with you on this show, realized that I wanted

01:06:28   to get a little bit more clarity,

01:06:29   especially as I was navigating through self-employment,

01:06:33   about how many hours I was actually working

01:06:36   compared to how many hours it felt like I was working.

01:06:39   And that is completely for me, and maybe for you too,

01:06:44   the reason that I time track is to help me reframe

01:06:48   my mental model of what I'm spending my time on

01:06:53   when it comes to work.

01:06:56   Because when I'm working, I set a timer,

01:06:58   and I put basic information as to what I'm doing

01:07:01   over that period of time.

01:07:03   So then on a basis that I set,

01:07:06   you know, or really for me whenever I want to,

01:07:09   I can review that data to see over a period of time

01:07:13   how much have I worked.

01:07:15   Sometimes it can be to check something that I'm feeling

01:07:18   or it can be to help me make some plans.

01:07:21   So for example, sometimes I'll get to the end of the day

01:07:24   and I'm like, I am exhausted.

01:07:26   And I'll look at my time tracker and be like,

01:07:28   oh, I've logged 10 hours, 12 hours of work today.

01:07:32   That's why.

01:07:33   And that can just be a useful thing sometimes

01:07:36   for me to check that against myself.

01:07:38   Or I'm exhausted.

01:07:39   Oh wait, I've logged four hours of work today.

01:07:41   So there's another reason.

01:07:43   What's that reason?

01:07:44   So stuff like that, it can give me those answers.

01:07:47   Or evaluating a new project.

01:07:50   I have a new thing coming up or I have a new place

01:07:52   that I want to put some time into.

01:07:54   Let me take a look overall over the last year

01:07:57   about how I spent my time.

01:07:59   Is this the right thing for me to be spending time on

01:08:02   based upon where I'm already putting my time?

01:08:06   So if I feel like, oh, I have a new podcast

01:08:09   that I wanna start, but I'm not sure if I wanna edit,

01:08:12   I feel like I do too much editing,

01:08:14   and then I take a look at the figures and realize,

01:08:16   oh boy, I'm doing more editing

01:08:17   than I even thought I was based on hours,

01:08:20   then I would make a decision about this project

01:08:23   as to either to not do it or to get external help

01:08:26   to help me push something forward.

01:08:29   So these are the types of things that you can learn

01:08:33   about yourself when you're time tracking.

01:08:35   You know, like I hear something from friends of mine

01:08:39   where they're like, oh, I spent all this time

01:08:42   on this project and I've put it out there

01:08:44   and sales were okay on it.

01:08:47   I don't know if it was the right decision to make.

01:08:50   But from my perspective, if you don't know how long

01:08:52   it took you to build that thing,

01:08:54   you're never gonna know the answer

01:08:56   as to whether it was worth it or not.

01:08:58   you know, like the amount of hours you put into it,

01:09:00   the amount of money you see from the end of it, right?

01:09:02   So this is especially important

01:09:03   if you're self-employed and making things.

01:09:05   Then you can work out an equation

01:09:07   as to how much money your time was worth.

01:09:10   These are important things that, in my perspective,

01:09:12   you can't have without some kind of time tracking system

01:09:16   because your brain is not reliable enough.

01:09:18   - Yeah, yeah, I mean, the reason that I time track

01:09:21   is very different from this,

01:09:22   but I think it's important for everyone,

01:09:24   but especially if you've become self-employed.

01:09:29   Nobody ever wants to do it, but I really think every newly self-employed person

01:09:34   has to have time tracking as a part of this process because

01:09:39   I think there's a very common experience for people who are self-employed to

01:09:44   dramatically overestimate the amount of time

01:09:49   Not that they're "working" in quotes, but that they are "usefully working."

01:09:54   Right, so...

01:09:56   This is one of the things I implore to people is...

01:10:00   If you're self-employed, and so the money you earn is directly proportional to the useful work that you produce,

01:10:10   be really strict about tracking the time that you are actually doing the thing that produces the value.

01:10:20   And you have to separate this from the concept of in a traditional job where like,

01:10:27   you're at that job for a set period of time and like, you've been working all day because you were at work.

01:10:33   And like, that is just not the same if you're self-employed.

01:10:37   And I think time tracking really helps focus that quite sharply in people's minds.

01:10:42   And the reason why I say it's a horror is because anyone who has done this

01:10:48   universally are shocked at how little of the time that they think of as "I'm working"

01:10:56   is the core value production time of whatever it is they're doing.

01:11:02   And so for me the example with this is it's quite clear is time tracking writing. Am I writing a

01:11:10   script? And I'm extremely strict with that timer of like this starts and like the timer can only run

01:11:21   if my fingers are moving right or if I'm saying the script out loud and if I'm not doing those

01:11:27   things like the timer cannot run. You know, if you're a computer programmer it should be the

01:11:32   same thing. Like are you actively working on the code is the thing to be tracking not am I sitting

01:11:40   at the computer? And I think it's just so easy to trick yourself in into this and you know especially

01:11:48   for a newly self-employed person to feel like oh I'm working 16 hours a day and it's like guarantee

01:11:55   you aren't and you just will not be able to have a sense of this. And while like all of work is

01:12:02   useful to track, I implore people to really focus on like what is the core value production and be

01:12:10   super strict about that one because everything else is kind of peripheral around it. And,

01:12:16   you know, in most jobs you can kind of think about like what is the core thing that really needs to

01:12:24   always be done that like has to be done? Back when I was a teacher, like what is the core thing?

01:12:30   There's many things you need to do, but the core thing is lesson planning because if you don't have

01:12:37   lessons for tomorrow, like the day is going to come and you are going to be screwed if you have

01:12:43   nothing to do all day. It also clarifies like marking that homework, it can wait, right? Like

01:12:50   you can start to use time tracking partly to like, sort out the priorities of things in your life.

01:12:57   So, I really implore everyone to do this, at least for a little bit.

01:13:03   And I'm always suspicious of when people are resistant to it, where they're like,

01:13:07   "Oh, I don't need to do this. I've got everything under control." And I'm like,

01:13:11   "Nope, that is- I'm not talking to you, I'm talking to the sneaky, lying part of your brain

01:13:17   that like wants to get away with stuff when you don't want to actually keep track of things.

01:13:22   So I will say this though, that like a key difference between us that I've been aware

01:13:27   of over the years is while I time track both much more than you, so I time track basically

01:13:34   every hour that I'm awake I'm running a timer, with some new small exceptions we can talk about

01:13:38   next week, but generally like I'm always running a timer. But I only really look at that data

01:13:46   on a daily basis of the program that I'm using, which is the same one you're using behind the

01:13:52   scenes, Toggle. If you have it in a web browser, they'll provide you like a little chart of how

01:13:56   you're spending your time for the day. But that's really all I ever use it for. And so, because I've

01:14:03   been time tracking for so long and I don't need to do as much of that like initial calibration as

01:14:10   when someone starts, I'm largely using time tracking as like an intentionality assistant.

01:14:15   And so for me it's become much more like pressing the timer for "I'm writing" is part of the process

01:14:25   of like "I'm really writing now" and like "why is this happening?" because the timer is running.

01:14:31   When we finish recording this episode you're going to go off and edit it and then you're going to

01:14:36   give that to me, and I'm going to go do the second edit."

01:14:40   And it's like, "What am I doing right now?

01:14:42   I'm gonna start the timer that says 'Cortex' because right now I'm working on Cortex."

01:14:48   And the thing that I really like about that is it makes it much clearer to me

01:14:53   what am I intentionally deciding to do.

01:14:56   Instead of just kind of like drifting through the day,

01:15:00   when the moment comes where it's like, "Oh, I've finished Cortex,"

01:15:04   or I've petered out of writing energy,

01:15:07   now in my life there's always this question which is,

01:15:11   "Well, what's the next timer that you're going to start?"

01:15:13   And so it like, it forces me to always re-evaluate at the end of each work unit,

01:15:19   "What's the next thing that I'm going to do?"

01:15:22   So it's just interesting to me that like, that's what time tracking has evolved into,

01:15:26   is a tool of intentionality.

01:15:28   And it's like, you know, you've reported on like how you've spent your time each year,

01:15:34   and I just don't really have any interest in that data for myself except in the most broad and brief

01:15:41   kind of ways. But I don't really use it as a planning tool. I use something else for that,

01:15:47   which we can talk about later. So that's the way it works for me.

01:15:49   I do think that that is a very valid part of time tracking too, of helping you set the expectation

01:15:57   in your mind for what you're doing at any certain time. I am sitting down to work now. I think that

01:16:04   That is a very important part of it.

01:16:05   - Or even like for the why do I run timers

01:16:08   for the rest of things is even just like deciding to relax

01:16:13   and I was like, oh, the day's over, what am I doing?

01:16:16   I'm sitting on the couch

01:16:17   and I'm watching a movie with my wife.

01:16:19   Like click, the timer starts.

01:16:21   It's like, this is what I'm deciding to do.

01:16:23   Great, the day's over.

01:16:24   And I like that as make a conscious decision,

01:16:28   don't just drift from task to task.

01:16:31   So that's what I like.

01:16:33   but I just realized, I assume that you're still using toggle,

01:16:36   but I haven't asked you in a while.

01:16:37   - Yeah, yeah.

01:16:38   I mean, toggle is merely a backend service for the Timery,

01:16:43   the third party app that I love,

01:16:45   that uses toggles data and timers,

01:16:49   but it's an iOS app that is just fantastic.

01:16:52   And then on the Mac, I use the toggle app,

01:16:55   which is terrible, but gets the job done.

01:16:58   But that's what I use, right?

01:17:00   And then of course, we both have some shortcuts

01:17:02   that we've created that allow just being able

01:17:05   to set things easily and I use Timery's shortcuts

01:17:08   that they've created to add in to existing shortcuts

01:17:11   that I make to make that stuff sing.

01:17:14   But yeah, Toggle's service is good.

01:17:16   It's pretty rock solid.

01:17:17   I like that it also has the ability to create an account

01:17:21   that can have team information in it.

01:17:24   My sales manager, we have them track their time

01:17:27   through Toggle, which is useful for them

01:17:30   because then they can use that to bill us.

01:17:32   That is a useful part of time tracking.

01:17:35   If you are self-employed and you bill people

01:17:38   based on the time that you work,

01:17:40   this is the best way to get that data

01:17:42   is to actually track the time that you're doing

01:17:44   'cause you're really tracking what you're doing, right?

01:17:46   And most of these applications, including Toggle,

01:17:48   will allow you to create a report based on that information

01:17:52   to help you do the billing that you need to do.

01:17:54   And neither of us bill anyone, right?

01:17:56   - We don't use billing,

01:17:57   but there is sort of one exception to looking at the data,

01:17:59   which I use, so this is just a little suggestion

01:18:02   if someone wants to use it this way.

01:18:04   So toggle allows you to have this additional setting

01:18:07   which is, they want it for like billable hours.

01:18:11   But I use the billable hours toggle

01:18:14   as time that I highly value.

01:18:18   So this is either the core stuff

01:18:21   like writing and researching a script,

01:18:23   but I'll also use it for exercise time.

01:18:26   And so I am always thinking of like billable hours

01:18:29   their little system just are tracked completely separately. And so I always feel like I wanted,

01:18:35   I do in a particular day always want to kind of hit a certain number of hours where I feel like

01:18:41   these are all the high value activities. So that's like the writing, it's the exercise,

01:18:47   it's certain kinds of reading. Those three things like, you know, these are the best ways that I can

01:18:52   spend my working time. So they're not billable hours, but I do love that toggle does pull those

01:18:58   things out and I can quickly see like I sort of don't care about the whole day but I do

01:19:03   care about these numbers. Like these numbers combined should always be like at a certain

01:19:07   point. Interesting. Yeah that's how I use the billable hours. I never would have thought to

01:19:13   do that. I wouldn't use that but I can see it being a thing that you could use. From a setup

01:19:19   perspective for me I actually have a pretty similar arrangement to how my to-do system is

01:19:26   by design. So when you set a time tracker you can give it a description so you can type in

01:19:31   freeform what you're doing and then you can add projects and tags. Now I only use projects and

01:19:38   tags. I never feel like I need to write a description of what I'm doing and I basically

01:19:43   set it up that my projects are the things in my life that I work on and by and large they are

01:19:51   named the same as the projects in my to-do list.

01:19:54   Right, so in Todoist.

01:19:56   I'm not like laying the state over one or the other, but it just helps me just mentally

01:20:00   keep track of what's being worked on because I don't have to think about like what do I

01:20:04   call it in Todoist versus what do I call it in Toggle.

01:20:07   Right, so like, you know, I'll have like sponsors, I'll have show prep and all that kind of stuff.

01:20:13   It's probably time for me to review these.

01:20:15   I would like to actually pare them down a little bit more.

01:20:18   And then I also use tags and the tags are the names of the shows that I'm on.

01:20:23   Because if I am using the podcast recording or podcast editing project, that is almost

01:20:29   useless for me unless I'm saying what show it is that I'm doing.

01:20:32   Right, because you want to be able to pull out the data per show.

01:20:35   Yeah, because that can differ wildly because like I don't edit every show that I'm

01:20:39   on.

01:20:40   So if I just had podcast editing and podcast recording, those numbers would be completely

01:20:44   wrong.

01:20:45   Right?

01:20:46   I would be making like, oh, for every minute I record, I am editing for this many minutes.

01:20:51   Well, that's not technically accurate.

01:20:53   So I like to assign the shows to it because then I can also drill that down later on as well to be

01:21:00   like, okay, so how many hours have I worked on Cortex versus Upgrade this year? And again,

01:21:07   that can work out at the end of the year, right? Like how much money did I make from each of those

01:21:11   shows? And then if I want to make decisions on those shows, then I can, right? So it's like,

01:21:14   that's why I like this data is because it helps me make decisions. I don't do that often but I've

01:21:22   done it on a few occasions and it has helped me come to an answer that I otherwise couldn't do.

01:21:27   So like I do find having this data is useful but the main reason I do it is just so I can,

01:21:33   I really deal with this this information in the macro, wait which one is which? Micro is small,

01:21:39   macro is large. Then I deal with these things in the micro. Okay. Because I always think of macro

01:21:43   macro lens should take pictures of things that are close up. That's where I get confused.

01:21:48   Yeah, because the lens is big. It lets you see things that are small.

01:21:51   Right, but the result is something that's small. Anyway, do you understand? I know I'm

01:21:57   wrong here, obviously, but do you understand how I get that wrong?

01:22:00   It's totally confusing. You're not wrong to be confused at all. A macro lens is a terrible name for it.

01:22:06   I am typically using this data to make decisions about how did I feel today. Like you, really.

01:22:13   it's more like today, but I then have this pool of data that exists that I can draw conclusions from

01:22:20   if I want to. How do you set up your projects and tags system with your time tracking?

01:22:26   See now this is where I'm just the total opposite because my time tracking system is

01:22:31   I only use the top level, like tags and stuff, I've never touched it. Descriptions,

01:22:37   never written a description. Yeah see I've never written a description either, so you're just using

01:22:41   like projects then? Here's the thing, I'm using projects and the reason I use projects

01:22:46   is because you can have them show up as different colors in the little pie chart that's toggle

01:22:51   makes. The colors are so important. Yeah and so for the videos trying to hour track the

01:22:57   particular videos is not really useful. I know I tried it briefly for a while but I

01:23:04   was like this is dumb, this is not really helpful. I don't actually, because of the

01:23:08   the way my video production process is, like, I just don't really care about how many hours

01:23:14   were spent on one project versus the other. Like, there just isn't actionable information

01:23:20   for me in the same way because those projects are largely defined by how interesting I think

01:23:25   they potentially are. And it's like, if something's interesting and it's going to take a million

01:23:28   hours, like, well, that's the way I make the videos. And there's nothing actionable going

01:23:33   forward with that. So that's why I only track in extremely broad ways of like, I'm writing,

01:23:40   but I don't have sub tags for which project is this. Or I'm doing video editing right

01:23:46   now. And I don't do sub tracking for that. For me, the main thing with the time tracking

01:23:51   is the colors are really vital. So it's like, I use dark blue for the high value work time.

01:24:01   And I use light blue for things like administrative tasks or, you know, like email or any of that

01:24:07   kind of stuff.

01:24:08   I use my least favorite color purple.

01:24:11   What do you got against purple?

01:24:13   It's just it's not a nice color.

01:24:14   But I use purple specifically for what I think of as like transition periods that need to

01:24:21   happen but are also kind of danger zones.

01:24:24   So it's just like when you wake up in the morning, how long is it before you actually

01:24:29   start working?

01:24:30   So like I have a little timer and it's called "boot up".

01:24:32   It's like when I wake up in the morning, like I hit the boot up timer and that starts adding like this ugly purple

01:24:37   to the timer of my day.

01:24:40   And so it provides like a little incentive always of like you want the least amount of purple.

01:24:44   So those kinds of like have to get done but are not intrinsically valuable in and of themselves transition tasks

01:24:51   I'll use that way or colors that are like for free time stuff is a lot of yellow or green and so

01:24:58   This is where, like, I really like being able to see the colors because I can just have a very quick sense of how the day is going.

01:25:04   And I find it quite motivating to be like,

01:25:09   "Keep the colors that you like or that represent good things in your life large,

01:25:14   and keep the colors for things that are not good as small as possible."

01:25:18   The most dreaded color on my calendar is black, which is for unintentional time.

01:25:24   and that's where if I've started a timer but for whatever reason I don't actually do the thing that

01:25:30   the timer said like "oh I need to research some facts about this project" but I got distracted

01:25:37   by Reddit it's like "oh no once I realize I've been distracted by Reddit and it's two hours later

01:25:42   and I've been looking at like power washing videos I've got to go to that timer and you can just

01:25:47   quickly change the project" and so I'll change that project name to like "unintentionality"

01:25:52   which means like, you didn't do the thing you intended to do, and this is like the worst way

01:25:57   to spend your time. So that's how I use those colors on a daily basis. But I'm not very specific

01:26:04   with the details of which project is related to what. I just don't find that useful or actionable

01:26:10   for me. It was. I get it, because I've heard you mention it a few times. It does always make me

01:26:14   chuckle about the idea of tracking unintentionally used time, because it's like, how do I know I'm

01:26:19   doing it and I know you do it after the fact, right?

01:26:22   Yeah.

01:26:22   But it's still like a funny, it's just like a funny thought, right?

01:26:26   Like if someone just coming cold to that be like,

01:26:28   "How did you track time where you weren't paying attention? How did you do it?"

01:26:32   I get why it's funny, but I really think it's actually one of the most vital parts for me.

01:26:37   This is why like always run a timer, make some things really easy.

01:26:41   And for catching yourself when you've gone off track,

01:26:45   this is super easy because you can look at the timer that says "writing" and realize,

01:26:52   "oh wait a minute, I'm still like puttering around because I actually realized I needed to

01:26:57   fill up the coffee and I didn't get started and then like..." So now I can just say like,

01:27:01   "oh this was unintentional time, like this was this was epic fail and I know exactly how long

01:27:07   I spent not doing the thing that I intended to do." And I have to say like by doing that over the

01:27:13   years I've definitely gotten much much better about the intentionality of like what am I

01:27:18   doing right now? Like I have to use that less and less and I think it's because it provides

01:27:23   that feedback of like I don't want to have to put black on this calendar so what am I

01:27:28   doing? And if I'm realizing like I'm not in the mood to get this high quality task done

01:27:35   I'm gonna make a decision okay you know what I'm gonna read a book for a while or I'm gonna

01:27:40   to watch some YouTube videos and I track that time differently. Like, I've intentionally

01:27:46   decided to do this other thing and that's way better than unintentionally just doing

01:27:53   it because I feel like that decision is really important. But again, like that, this is,

01:27:58   this is the way that I'm using the time tracking is like this decision aiding tool. I will

01:28:02   say if someone does want to run a lot of timers, my suggestion here, if you're using iOS is

01:28:08   I have the same stack that Myke does, you know, toggle.

01:28:12   I'm using Timery as the interface for toggle.

01:28:16   But the primary reason I'm using Timery

01:28:18   is because it has amazing integration with shortcuts.

01:28:21   But here's like the great pro tip on time tracking.

01:28:25   I make shortcuts for all of the various timers

01:28:28   that I want to run.

01:28:30   And what you can do in shortcuts is turn every shortcut

01:28:36   into a little app, a little pseudo app on the phone.

01:28:40   So you can say like,

01:28:41   "Make this shortcut exist on my home screen."

01:28:43   And I just put all of those little pseudo apps

01:28:46   in a folder on my phone so they just disappear.

01:28:49   But when I go to TimeTrack,

01:28:53   I always do it on the phone,

01:28:55   and I swipe down on the phone

01:28:56   to pull up that little search bar.

01:28:58   And you know how iOS has the suggested apps

01:29:01   that you should use at any particular time?

01:29:05   Because you now have all of your little timers are pseudo apps, I've found that iOS actually

01:29:11   gets pretty good at guessing which timer do you want to run when.

01:29:17   That is clever.

01:29:18   Yeah, so I would say like probably at this point, 90% of the time if I pull down on the

01:29:26   phone to like pretend like I'm going to search, one of the top three pseudo apps is the timer

01:29:32   that I want to run at that moment.

01:29:34   And so it's great.

01:29:35   There's only a couple of other timers that I use super frequently that I put in the little

01:29:38   widget, you know, to slide over with Timery.

01:29:41   But that's what I do for running a bunch of timers if you also want to be the sort of

01:29:45   person who's always running timers.

01:29:47   So that works really well for me.

01:29:48   And something that I like about Timery and its shortcut support is you then have the

01:29:52   ability to add that into the flow of another shortcut.

01:29:57   So for example, I have a shortcut that's called Show Prep.

01:30:00   And when I tap it, it asks me what show are you preparing for.

01:30:04   So I would tap, say, Cortex, and it will open the Cortex Google doc for me and also set

01:30:11   a time tracker for preparing for Cortex.

01:30:17   Or I have another one which I run to just like get my phone ready for when I'm recording,

01:30:22   so like set it on Do Not Disturb and stuff like that.

01:30:24   Make sure the volume's down, all those things.

01:30:27   But it will also look at my calendar and set a recording timer with the tag, the name of

01:30:34   the next upcoming event on my calendar.

01:30:37   And I have the events named just right.

01:30:41   So it will say, for example, upgrade.

01:30:44   It's just the name of the calendar event.

01:30:46   I don't need it to be anything more than that.

01:30:49   So then it just adds the tag of the word upgrade, which is the same as the tag in my time tracker.

01:30:55   So it can just pull that data in,

01:30:56   throw it into the tag field, and then it's all set.

01:30:59   It's little stuff like that.

01:31:00   You're playing around with it, but I like that.

01:31:03   So I like building my time trackers

01:31:06   in as just automatic parts of a shortcut,

01:31:09   which will enable me to do the work

01:31:11   that I'm trying to do at the moment.

01:31:13   So I like that.

01:31:14   This episode of Cortex is brought to you by ExpressVPN.

01:31:18   Working from home, you might not be thinking

01:31:19   about internet privacy

01:31:20   since you're on your home network, right?

01:31:22   We all know that encoding to Windows exists,

01:31:24   But did you know that even in incognito mode,

01:31:27   your online activity could still be traced?

01:31:29   Even if you clear your online browsing history,

01:31:31   your ISP, your internet service provider,

01:31:33   could see every single website you've ever visited.

01:31:36   That is why you may want to use ExpressVPN

01:31:38   to make sure that your ISP and nobody

01:31:40   can see what sites you're visiting.

01:31:42   Instead, your internet connection is rerouted

01:31:45   through their secure servers.

01:31:46   Your information is your information.

01:31:48   If you want to keep it private, you should have that option.

01:31:50   And ExpressVPN allows you to do it.

01:31:52   Each server of theirs has their own IP address shared among thousands of users,

01:31:56   which means that everything you do is anonymized and can't be traced back to

01:32:00   you. It also encrypts 100% of your data with best in class encryption.

01:32:04   One of my favorite features about ExpressVPN, I have two actually,

01:32:08   one how fast it is to turn on and the fact that it doesn't affect my internet

01:32:12   speed. Like I don't notice when I have it on,

01:32:14   it's not like everything gets super slow and I can also switch my location to

01:32:18   enjoy content from other regions and the fact that I am able to stream video in

01:32:22   while using ExpressVPN just shows how efficient it is, which is awesome.

01:32:26   ExpressVPN is rated number one by Tech Radar, Wired, The Verge and more.

01:32:31   Use the internet and confidence on every device that you own.

01:32:34   Just tap one button and you are protected.

01:32:37   Protect your online activity today and find out how you can get three months free

01:32:41   at expressvpn.com/cortex.

01:32:44   That is e-x-p-r-e-s-s vpn.com/cortex for three months free

01:32:49   with a one year package that you're a one more time.

01:32:51   expressvpn.com/cortex.

01:32:54   Our thanks to ExpressVPN for their support of this show and Relay FM.

01:32:57   Communication.

01:32:59   So we spoke about email, but you know, there's more communication than email.

01:33:04   There's been a lot of communication apps that have been created to try and get

01:33:06   rid of email. I mean, Slack is the main thing here, I think, for work communication.

01:33:12   Then you've got messaging apps, right?

01:33:15   So iMessage, that kind of thing is like another part.

01:33:18   But the only reason I really wanted to talk about the communication apps today is to highlight

01:33:24   something that you imparted upon me, which has been very useful in many of my creative

01:33:31   projects with people that are also my friends, which is conversation silos.

01:33:37   So I really just wanted to mention this again today as an important thing to think about

01:33:41   as a productivity philosophy thing, especially if you work with somebody that you also have

01:33:47   a friendship with, which I think is something that lots of people are doing more and more

01:33:51   these days. And that is the idea of having multiple places where you talk to the same

01:33:56   person but you talk about work in one place and everything else in another. So for me

01:34:03   and Grey, we have now three places where we talk. So we have iMessage, where by and large

01:34:12   iMessage is we just talk like friends unless, and we're both pretty good at this, like if something

01:34:17   is urgent we know we can reach each other always by iMessage. Right. Right, so like for example

01:34:24   if when we record today I need if I needed to start editing immediately and it's two hours later

01:34:30   and I don't have your audio the place that I'm going to message you is iMessage because it's

01:34:35   urgent communication and it's most like I would expect you're most likely to be looking at iMessage

01:34:40   than Slack, right? But by and large for all work stuff related to the show, we will talk

01:34:47   in the Relay FM Slack, and then we also have a Slack for Cortex brand, which is everything

01:34:53   else related to our business together. And the value in having these silos is it means

01:35:00   that work and personal do not get intermixed with each other. And to maintain a friendship

01:35:09   you work with someone, I find this incredibly important to make sure that you're keeping

01:35:13   those things separated so that you can have those spaces that are safe.

01:35:17   I think one of the importance of siloing is you don't want to get an iMessage from your

01:35:23   friend but before you're able to see the text preview or whatever of the message to start

01:35:29   to get a Pavlovian response of "oh is there some problem with the work?" right or "is

01:35:35   something that I need to handle right now?" And so by, for the most part, keeping the conversations

01:35:42   separate, you avoid that constant intermingling. And I also think it's good because it allows

01:35:50   you to be able to have a business conversation in the business environment that leaves your

01:35:56   friendship at the door. And you can just say like, "Okay, we got to make some decisions about this

01:36:00   thing and I think it's really good to be able to separate those different aspects of like what is

01:36:06   the relationship between these two people because it can get quite muddled up. So yeah, I'm always

01:36:11   in favor of siloing conversations if possible. With communication systems, you know, there are

01:36:16   a lot of tools. I think this always ends up being very specific to the person and what their

01:36:21   communication is like. So I don't have a lot to say on here except yeah, just be intentional about

01:36:28   which tool are you going to use for which kind of communication?

01:36:32   This is not as deep as the other things in the show,

01:36:35   but like that piece of information I really find to be quite important to people

01:36:40   working today because this can be like with your colleagues,

01:36:44   it's very normal to become friends with people that you work with.

01:36:47   Just keep that work conversation outside of your usual messaging app, right?

01:36:52   Like talk about the other stuff that you have in common rather than did you

01:36:57   finish the report. Keep that in email, keep that in Slack or whatever.

01:37:02   I mean, Slack continues to be the only other real business communication tool

01:37:06   that I have. Slack continues to grow into this beast of a thing. But it's great.

01:37:13   Slack suffers from it not necessarily being bad in any way,

01:37:20   but people just start to associate what's in it with the application.

01:37:25   You know, everyone loved Slack when it first came around because it was different and then

01:37:29   they were creating communities within it.

01:37:31   So it's like, "Oh, I love it because it's got this community aspect to it."

01:37:35   But then your employer picked it up and then it became the place where work happens and

01:37:38   then you're just less excited about it.

01:37:40   Well, yeah, I also think Slack has one feature that I think is particularly guilty of removing

01:37:46   siloing and kind of muddying the waters of the Slack.

01:37:51   And that's their general channel.

01:37:53   And I think for even in many business-focused slacks, the general place can become a real

01:38:00   hotbed of nonsense that is also where friends are chatting, but this is also the place where

01:38:08   we work.

01:38:09   I can't imagine what a general room in a corporate slack must look like.

01:38:13   Yeah, it must look like madness.

01:38:15   The way I have actually set up the slack that I use for all of the video and all of my related

01:38:21   I've disabled the general channel. Like there is no general conversation because I really do want to

01:38:30   try to keep it very strict of like, "Okay guys, we've got channels for projects and like this

01:38:36   channel is where we discuss like what needs to be done for this project." And if there's something

01:38:43   that's not directly related to a project, like that's what direct messages are for. I'm the,

01:38:48   like this grumpy person who's like "I don't want reaction gifts, like I don't want all these other things, like

01:38:53   let's be very clear, like this is where we're trying to get this project brought close to completion"

01:38:59   and I just I often think like that general channel

01:39:03   I don't know, like I think that's why people were like

01:39:06   "Oh, Slack is so fun because there's this built-in room where we can just like hang out with our friends"

01:39:11   I was like, but yeah, you probably shouldn't be hanging out with your friends in Slack

01:39:15   you should probably find some other method for that because then now you're mixing work and

01:39:20   friendship in a weird way sometimes. I think this was just as it changed.

01:39:23   For a lot of people when Slack first came around, it was like there is a community of people here.

01:39:31   There is a group of people around a certain type of thing. When it first was coming onto the scene,

01:39:40   I think it was more like we're a large group of friends, this gives us somewhere to hang out

01:39:45   together. But it has become a tool which has been adopted by Workplace because that's actually what

01:39:51   it's for. So Discord has come in and I think has picked up a lot of the community stuff.

01:39:57   And Discord is similarly structured, it has its general rooms or whatever. But I think people,

01:40:03   and I know I feel differently about Discord because it is more just like community than

01:40:09   work. Let's talk about calendars. I have a very simple calendar philosophy.

01:40:17   Events go on the calendar, like things that are going to happen and end at a

01:40:21   certain time, they go on the calendar. I have a bunch of calendars, like work

01:40:24   calendars, personal calendars, shared calendars. I don't have a very

01:40:29   complicated calendar structure. Every event has a notification five minutes

01:40:37   before just because I like that. I feel like my calendaring is very typical.

01:40:42   You may have a simple calendar system but I feel like you have a lot of events on that

01:40:47   calendar.

01:40:48   Yeah, yeah, yeah. I have lots and lots of events, yes, but I don't feel like it's

01:40:52   different to the calendar I kept when I had a regular job. Like the calendar when I – because

01:40:58   it was full of meetings. Right, so similar for me, like just recordings and calls and

01:41:03   meetings replaced the meetings. It was all just blocks of time, but I don't really do

01:41:08   anything particularly different, I feel, to the average person who uses a calendar. But

01:41:15   I know that you have some different uses for your calendars. You have specific calendars

01:41:21   that you only look at at specific times. So I think that's where I'm different. All of

01:41:26   my calendars are enabled.

01:41:27   Yeah, I am very much not a, you know, talking about the spectrum at the beginning.

01:41:31   Like, I don't use the calendar in the way that many people do.

01:41:35   In some ways, the calendar for me has two totally separate and unrelated functions.

01:41:40   The one function is for my one calendar that I call "changes",

01:41:45   which basically means any interruptions in what would otherwise be my totally internal life.

01:41:52   Right, of like, "Oh, here is a meeting that you need to go to."

01:41:56   or there's going to be a conference this week, or you have to do a call with this person at this time.

01:42:02   And so like I have this one calendar that just shows all of the time-based items that are different from just

01:42:12   what would be my normal ideal week just on my own, minding my own business.

01:42:17   And so in that way, my calendar is ridiculously simple because I also try extremely hard to limit

01:42:26   how many items are ever going to be on that calendar. It's mostly a tool for things like,

01:42:32   you know, if I need to do a call about something, I try to look at the calendar and then put the

01:42:37   calls all on the same day because I'll feel like, "Oh, as soon as a day has something like a dentist

01:42:43   appointment that whole day is ruined so I might as well like stack a bunch of calls or other stuff

01:42:49   on that day and like that's the way I use it. Yeah so like this is like that funny thing for me where

01:42:54   it's like "oh I have an empty day!" "Fill it up of calls!" right like that's you know it's this

01:43:00   sad thing that I end up doing to myself where I'm like so excited about there being an empty day

01:43:04   next week and then someone says "oh hey can we have a call?" and I'm like "oh I have an empty day,

01:43:08   I'll just put one call in here." And then three calls get stacked on that because once I add one

01:43:14   call, it's no longer the empty day anymore than for it's a full-up-with-calls day.

01:43:19   BRIAN KARDELL-SMITH Yeah, so for me, my ideal calendar,

01:43:22   if I look at a week, I want to have zero items on that Changes calendar. I don't want to see,

01:43:28   "Oh, there's a dinner that you have to go to with this thing." Nope, I want none of that. That's

01:43:32   always what I'm trying to arrange. MATT PORTER

01:43:33   Right, because any added event to the Changes calendar is going to start the cascade.

01:43:38   B: I feel like it changes the whole feeling of a day. I hate knowing like, "Ugh, I've

01:43:43   got to be at that place tonight," right? And as soon as I wake up in the morning, I

01:43:47   know it's coming. So yeah, I try very hard to limit what's on that calendar. So in some

01:43:55   ways, the way a normal person uses a calendar, I have one calendar and just events go on

01:44:02   that, and I try very hard to keep it nice and simple.

01:44:05   But the other way that I do use the calendar, which I don't know, I probably do like two

01:44:10   or three times a year and I actually just did it last week, is as a theoretical planning

01:44:18   tool.

01:44:19   So I will sometimes sit down and say, "Okay, I've been doing this long enough and I do

01:44:28   know from my daily numbers, like I have a sense of how many hours can you spend writing

01:44:34   on a good day, or like, "How much exercise do you want to do, you know, on average over

01:44:41   the course of this week?" and then like, "How many times do you have a podcast to record?

01:44:47   How long does that podcast take to edit?" and I start to put all of those items on a

01:44:53   calendar, because a week isn't quite right, I do this over a 14-day time period, and I'll

01:44:58   I'll build up what I think of as the theoretically perfect time period.

01:45:05   And it's much more that which I use to try to make decisions about what do I want to

01:45:12   do or what do I not want to do or if I'm going to take on a new project, where does that

01:45:18   project fit in here?

01:45:20   What am I going to take time from?

01:45:22   And how much downtime do I want to have?

01:45:26   or, you know, like, reading is an important thing for me, but I always kind of put it

01:45:31   off where should reading go in my life on like what I would imagine to be like, "Oh,

01:45:38   this would be two weeks and if I followed this calendar perfectly, I would feel like

01:45:42   I could not have done better in life." And I think people will hear this and what they'll

01:45:49   hear is that I've scheduled my time, but that's not really correct because I'm not a calendar

01:45:56   I'm not using this as "here is the regime that I must follow."

01:46:02   It's much more of just an evaluation of "you only have so many quality hours in the day,

01:46:09   there's only so many things that can be done," and just seeing how does this fit together

01:46:16   over a longer period of time.

01:46:19   And this I find just a really useful process, and like, the broad outlines of it doesn't

01:46:24   really change all that much because I know the rhythm of my own life that I'm most productive

01:46:30   in the very early morning and in the evening time and afternoons are sort of a more difficult

01:46:36   downtime and I know these rhythms but it's really useful when just thinking about what

01:46:44   am I focusing my time on to do this theoretically perfect week. And I always find that an incredibly

01:46:52   valuable thing to do, and especially like with recently, how there are many things that

01:46:59   will have impacted my theoretical schedule to sit down and be like, "Okay, let me think

01:47:04   through going forward, what do I want the weeks to look like?"

01:47:09   And so I don't do that often, but that is where I use the calendar as a kind of time-planning

01:47:17   tool and I don't stick to it.

01:47:21   It's not a regime.

01:47:22   I've never found the whole like "set a schedule for yourself" advice to be useful.

01:47:27   My brain just does not work that way, which is why I use more task-focused system.

01:47:33   But I do like using the calendar for that.

01:47:35   And then, just on a more minor scale, a thing that you and I were doing before we started

01:47:39   the call today is there is a more actionable version of this where I have a calendar where

01:47:44   I'm keeping track of when are things going to be posted and what's going on in the world.

01:47:52   So having a rough sense of, like, you know, when do I think the next video is going to

01:47:58   go up and, you know, when is a Cortex episode going to go up or what else is going on in

01:48:04   my life around those times or like what holiday is it or all these kinds of things.

01:48:09   So I do have a sort of broad posting/planning kind of schedule, but obviously because of

01:48:17   the way I work.

01:48:19   None of those things are certain, but it's still useful to be able to try to keep things

01:48:23   from overlapping too much or just being aware of, "Oh, there's a big event that's planned

01:48:28   for this week.

01:48:29   That's probably not a time where you can even conceive that you're going to post something."

01:48:33   So that's the other way that I use a calendar.

01:48:36   From a calendar tool perspective, I'm all about Fantastical.

01:48:40   Is there any other tool that's useful if you have an even moderately complicated calendaring

01:48:45   system?

01:48:46   No.

01:48:47   the one true calendar app and that's the one I use too, for sure.

01:48:50   I'm a big, big fan of it. They have all of the features that I'm looking for.

01:48:54   I've really been happy with their newest version, like with the new iPad app and stuff.

01:49:00   Oh, it's great. It's so good.

01:49:02   It's really, really very good. And it works wonderfully with the Trackpad support.

01:49:06   I think it's wonderful. I'm very, very happy.

01:49:09   Yeah. I mean, there's nothing else to even discuss like, Fantastic Cal or GTFO.

01:49:14   Don't you use Apple Calendar for some stuff though? Or have you changed that? I know that you were using it.

01:49:19   The only reason I used to use Apple Calendar is because Fantastic Al didn't support the groups

01:49:23   on iOS, right? Like the calendar groups where you can switch back and forth. And so I used Apple

01:49:29   Calendar, I set it a particular way to be an alternate group that I could quickly look at.

01:49:34   But now that Fantastic Al has the calendar groups that you can toggle on and off on iOS, like I have

01:49:39   no need for Apple calendar.

01:49:41   Goodbye, I'll never see you again.

01:49:44   - Oh, so that was, I guess, Productivity 101, right?

01:49:47   Like, we're done now, that's all of it?

01:49:48   Everyone can go ahead, just go be productive now.

01:49:51   We've given you everything we know.

01:49:52   - It feels like we did a lot of it.

01:49:55   - I think so, like, I feel like we have given

01:49:58   the complete overview that I wanted to.

01:50:00   On our next episode, we're gonna move some of this stuff

01:50:03   forward a little bit, and also relate it to a video

01:50:06   that you just produced called Spaceship You,

01:50:10   which is really excellent.

01:50:12   If you haven't seen this video yet,

01:50:14   you should before the next episode.

01:50:16   But I wanna kinda talk a little bit more

01:50:18   about that idea in general.

01:50:20   And it's also kind of like relating

01:50:21   to just working from home again,

01:50:24   as like, going back to that.

01:50:26   So I think there's some really interesting themes in there

01:50:29   that I wanna explore,

01:50:30   and also check in on how we're both doing.

01:50:33   So go and watch that video,

01:50:34   link will be in the show notes,

01:50:35   and we'll talk about it next time.