65: Goals Are Dumb


00:00:00   So we're over an hour late starting today on our recording. Would you like to tell everybody,

00:00:07   Gray, why that is?

00:00:08   Gray Miller It was a snow day!

00:00:10   [Ding]

00:00:11   [Laughter]

00:00:13   Jay

00:00:23   but it doesn't have to be a lot, right, for it to make a big difference.

00:00:26   But it's very cold here right now and there is some snow.

00:00:28   As always with these things, uh,

00:00:30   if you post on the internet that your city has snow and things are closing down

00:00:35   people from the Northern Arctic wastelands will get in touch and they'll tell you

00:00:41   about how you don't know or understand what snow is, right?

00:00:45   That that your baby, it's like, this is, yeah,

00:00:48   I know that there's more snow in places that are colder. That's,

00:00:51   It's never the question. It's entirely a question of how economically feasible is it to keep

00:00:57   a whole fleet of snowplows at the ready to get your city clear of snow? And the answer

00:01:03   is if you're London, where it didn't even snow last year, you just don't have any plows,

00:01:07   right? Like you have nothing, right? You just don't have anything. And so then when you

00:01:11   do get every two years, one inch of snow, everything shuts down. But most importantly,

00:01:18   I woke up this morning, I saw that there was a lot of snow.

00:01:21   I immediately opened up Carrot Weather and saw that there was going to continue to be

00:01:24   a lot of snow.

00:01:25   And I immediately declared it a grey industry snow day.

00:01:28   I was like, "Nope!"

00:01:31   Year of order, routine establishing in the morning, right out the window it goes.

00:01:36   I just ran into the streets and it was great.

00:01:39   I spent all morning wandering around central London enjoying the snow and it was glorious.

00:01:46   But I did send you a message as soon as I possibly could.

00:01:49   Like as soon as I popped up into Foggart Square, I was like, "Oh!

00:01:52   Oh!

00:01:53   It's not a snow day for relay industries.

00:01:56   Myke's still gonna want to record the podcast."

00:01:58   So I sent you a message to try to give you a heads up that I was going to be almost certainly

00:02:03   late coming back, which I was.

00:02:06   But I liked that you attempted to sweeten this by sending me picture updates every now

00:02:11   and then of the interesting things that you were finding around London.

00:02:15   Like "Look!

00:02:16   Well, I thought you're probably sitting at home in the relay company that is not having

00:02:23   a snow day and having a sad at the office day. So I thought I was going to brighten

00:02:28   your morning with pictures of me frolicking in the snow. I thought you would enjoy that,

00:02:33   Myke.

00:02:34   I did not and have not had a snow day. It's been snowing for a few days. I have not left

00:02:39   the house even though I love snow. There are a few things in the world that I love more

00:02:45   that are naturally occurring than snow because it's so rare for me that like it's a real

00:02:49   treat but oh yeah i think throughout this episode there is going to be a theme and the

00:02:55   theme of this episode is mike mike feels very overwhelmed right now with work so i have

00:03:02   a i have a character flaw in that when i feel very busy if i leave the house it's like i

00:03:11   I have committed a crime. I have to be here and it is the only way that I can feel okay

00:03:21   because if I leave I have neglected the mountain of work that I have to take care of. So I

00:03:29   have not left the house yet. I believe as we're recording this today that when Adina

00:03:38   comes home she's dragging me out of the house she's bought me a scarf even

00:03:43   because she's unhappy with the fact that I have not left the house this week to

00:03:49   play in the snow which would bring me great joy but right now I feel like I'm

00:03:54   not allowed to do that I too had a mountain of work to do and I don't feel

00:04:00   guilty there's no kill there's no kill over there no this is a thing that is is

00:04:05   is very hard to do, but I'm always really glad when I do it, which is

00:04:09   intentional playtime, or intentional goofing off or relaxing time

00:04:15   where instead of what is very easy to do, like, "Oh, I should be working,

00:04:20   but somehow I'm Mario Karting. I don't know how this happened."

00:04:24   And it's like, "I'm not fully enjoying the Mario Kart

00:04:27   because I know that there's something that I should be doing,

00:04:30   and I'm just sort of here procrastinating."

00:04:32   That's the worst because you're not enjoying the activity and you're not getting anything done.

00:04:36   But that's why this morning is like, "Oh, woke up? Boom. I'm the CEO. I'm declaring it's a snow day."

00:04:42   No work can happen on the morning of a snow day. So there's no guilt at all. Nothing is even

00:04:47   possibly going to happen. And I feel like that's the best way to enjoy a thing is to mentally

00:04:54   cordon it off as work can't possibly happen while it's snowing outside. Everyone knows that.

00:05:01   So there's no guilt because I couldn't be answering emails this morning. It just couldn't happen.

00:05:07   What annoys me the most is that I feel like I had gotten better at that. I feel like I had gotten a

00:05:13   lot better at being able to say to myself, "You know what? I'm going to sit down and play Nintendo

00:05:19   for a while and it's going to be great." But I've been going through some transitions business-wise

00:05:26   this year that seemed to have upended everything. I think that my company is at a stage now where

00:05:34   there's just some changes happening, like we're old enough that just different types of things

00:05:39   are going on and it's all good stuff. Like all of this work, this additional work is being generated

00:05:47   because of good things and the stress that I'm going through is because of the additional work,

00:05:51   not that anything bad is happening, right? Like it's that kind of stress. It's an overwhelming

00:05:55   rather than a desperation type stress. So I and I have not yet adjusted to this new

00:06:04   world and right and I'm and I am trying to do some things to help me adjust but right

00:06:10   now I'm not doing a very good job with it.

00:06:13   I'm sorry to hear that Myke. Overwhelmedness is maybe one of the much more harder things

00:06:22   to deal with because it is that cloud, that feeling of "oh there are so many things,

00:06:34   it's very hard to get a handle on" but you know I really think Idina needs to take you

00:06:40   on a snow day.

00:06:41   Yeah, yeah I know, I know it's tricky.

00:06:45   Let me tell you actually, let me tell you about something that I started doing which

00:06:51   which I'm hoping will help with this.

00:06:55   I have started a journal.

00:06:57   Okay, I'm going to need a lot of details on what this means to you.

00:07:02   Yeah, I know.

00:07:04   Because I've basically gone anywhere from dear diary to writing down minute by minute

00:07:10   what I'm doing.

00:07:11   It is an all-encompassing term which these days means more and more and more.

00:07:18   So I have in the past looked at journaling systems. I am a big pen and paper nerd. I've

00:07:25   mentioned this on the show before, but this is a thing that really is one of my big loves

00:07:31   in life is pen and paper. I have an entire podcast dedicated to it. It's called The Pen

00:07:34   Addict and I will put a link in the show notes in case people are interested. We are about

00:07:39   to hit our 300th episode. It is my longest running show that I have ever done. It's weekly,

00:07:48   So, you know, it's a lot of pen and paper news.

00:07:50   So that's the thing that I love very much.

00:07:52   So I've been very aware of journaling systems.

00:07:56   You know, bullet journal is a big one, right?

00:07:59   And I actually know the guy who made it.

00:08:01   His name is Ryder Carroll and he's a great guy.

00:08:04   And we've kind of been going along with his journey

00:08:08   over the time that he created the bullet journal

00:08:10   'cause we first found out about it before it was nothing.

00:08:13   Right, it was just beginning.

00:08:14   And now it's like a huge, huge deal.

00:08:16   - Yeah, but also, bullet journal, in my mind,

00:08:19   at least from what I know of it,

00:08:21   bullet journal is not a journal at all.

00:08:23   It's a task management system.

00:08:24   - It is, yeah.

00:08:25   - This is why when you say you started a journal,

00:08:27   I feel like I need to know

00:08:29   what it is that you're talking about.

00:08:30   - Exactly, so this is it, right?

00:08:32   Like, this is it.

00:08:33   The term journal means so much now.

00:08:36   But I was saying, like, I have looked into bullet journaling

00:08:38   and I was considering it as a thing,

00:08:40   but it didn't do, for whatever reason,

00:08:43   it wasn't doing what I wanted it to do.

00:08:45   And then a couple of weeks ago, I had a call with my new friend, Mr. David Sparks.

00:08:52   And he was telling me that he had just started journaling himself, but decided to just create

00:08:59   his own system, which focused on things that matter to him.

00:09:03   And I was like, oh, okay, that's probably what I should do.

00:09:08   Like why focus on somebody else's system when I don't need a to-do list on paper.

00:09:15   I already have one of those, right?

00:09:17   So I figured I'm going to focus on what I want to do.

00:09:21   And I've been keeping this journal for just over a week.

00:09:24   And every day I sit down at one point and I write out the headings of the things that

00:09:30   I want to focus on in that day.

00:09:32   And then later on in the evening I'll kind of complete it.

00:09:35   So let me tell you what my system includes.

00:09:40   So I sit down with a double page in a notebook and I write down a bunch of headings.

00:09:45   One of them is priorities, one of them is called one good thing, I have one bad thing,

00:09:51   what did I learn, what am I looking forward to, and then what pens did I use.

00:09:56   I use two pens every day.

00:10:00   Because this is also a way for me to use my pens more, which is nice.

00:10:05   So yeah, so priorities, right?

00:10:07   Okay, yeah, let's run through these one at a time.

00:10:10   Priorities. This is in essence like to-dos, but they are much broader and much more simple.

00:10:20   So like every day I may have 10 tasks say that I want to, my to-do list that I want to complete,

00:10:27   right, in Todoist. But they don't actually all need to be done today, right? Like that's not

00:10:34   how my system works. Sometimes I have to-dos in my project manager, knowing that they won't be

00:10:42   done today but I can do a little bit of work towards them today and then reschedule them.

00:10:46   But my priorities are the things that by the end of the day today I will have 100% wanted to

00:10:53   complete these things. So then when I'm coming to the end of my day and I'm looking at Todoist and

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

00:11:03   And I get that feeling of like,

00:11:05   did I actually do anything today?

00:11:07   I can refer to my journal and tick off the things

00:11:11   that I've done and be like, oh, these were the things

00:11:13   that I actually achieved.

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

00:11:16   that I needed to do today.

00:11:18   So it's like a sub list.

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

00:11:24   over my actual to-do list system.

00:11:26   It's more like pie in the sky type stuff, right?

00:11:31   Like these are things that I want to do and they can even be non-work things.

00:11:35   And they are a lot of the time non-work things.

00:11:38   Stuff that I wouldn't actually have in my to-do list.

00:11:41   So like I'm going to write one in right now as we are talking

00:11:44   because I add to my journal throughout the day and it's going to say

00:11:48   "go out in the snow".

00:11:51   That's going to be added to my priorities list for today.

00:11:54   and then later on we'll go out in the snow, but that's never going to find its way into Todoist

00:11:59   because it's not part of my system, right? Yeah, and it also doesn't...

00:12:04   in the structure of using something to manage projects, it doesn't really make sense to make

00:12:11   a project which is called "Myke is exposed to snow because it's good for his mental health"

00:12:17   and then an action which is called "go outside" or like that doesn't make it... it's too heavy

00:12:22   weight, right? It's way too heavy weight.

00:12:24   Well, let me rephrase that. It's not good for the way that I have my system. Some people

00:12:28   may do that, right? But that doesn't work within the way that I think about tasks, right?

00:12:34   But when I'm looking at my priorities for the day, then yeah, maybe that works. So then

00:12:38   I have one good thing and one bad thing. So every day I try and write down one good thing

00:12:44   that happened and one bad thing that happened. And I included the bad thing because I included

00:12:49   the good thing. I didn't want this to just be like an idealistic view of my life because

00:12:56   bad things happen, right? And I didn't want this journal to just be like, "Oh, everything's

00:13:01   so amazing!" Right? Because it's not like that. It's not how life is.

00:13:05   Okay, so already we're getting into a little bit of a different function of this for you,

00:13:11   which is the idea that this is a thing like a traditional diary that you might look back

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

00:13:23   That's why the one bad thing is there because it lets you know what's going on.

00:13:27   I highly doubt that I will even keep this journal when it's finished.

00:13:33   I'm not an archivist or stuff like this.

00:13:36   It's more just as a way for me to reflect on something.

00:13:41   So by writing it down it's like acknowledging a thing happened or a thing didn't happen.

00:13:48   honestly like the one good thing none of this stuff has I don't feel like it ever

00:13:53   has to be completed right if I don't have a bad thing I'm not gonna write it

00:13:59   like I'm not gonna magic something up but the idea for me is more just like a

00:14:06   way to just reflect on things a little bit more just so I can focus on like

00:14:11   what good things did happen today and my idea for this is like moving into the

00:14:17   future, if I feel like I've had a really bad day, why don't I try and think about

00:14:23   if there was a good thing and it might help me feel a little bit better. And the

00:14:28   reason I'm doing this is because of one of the things I learned about myself

00:14:32   through time tracking of understanding I feel like I've been very busy but what

00:14:37   do the numbers say? Sometimes the numbers say no you haven't so then it's

00:14:43   like okay well let me try and think about that why do I feel this way if I

00:14:48   have something that tells me it's not this way so it's like I might feel really

00:14:52   bad today but maybe that's just the last half an hour as opposed to the entire

00:14:59   day so that's kind of what the one good thing one bad thing is is meant to be

00:15:03   for like acknowledging that there is both but also giving me a way to think

00:15:08   about what my day was actually like because I've noticed this about myself

00:15:15   that like I can have a perfectly good day but then things can ruin it like

00:15:21   something happens and then I'm in a bad mood right and I'm very aware of this

00:15:27   and believe that I think I would be overall more happy if I didn't dwell on

00:15:32   on things as much. So this is me trying to curtail that a little bit by having more of

00:15:44   a structure, more of a system around good things that happen. And actually the next

00:15:49   two parts of the journal also enforce this. So one of them is "What did I learn?" And

00:15:56   this serves two functions. One of them is, basically for the entire time that I have

00:16:01   known Adina, if she wants to talk, if we want to have a conversation but we don't have anything

00:16:08   to talk about, like if we're hanging out, we're just chatting, she will say to me, "Tell

00:16:13   me the three things you learned today." And that has always been a strong exercise for

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

00:16:21   Yeah, I'm gonna say even as someone who makes a real effort to try to read and expose himself

00:16:31   two different things. What are the three things you learned today is a tall order?

00:16:37   So it's tricky because I know that there are things but I just don't remember them. Or like

00:16:44   at that moment I can't think back to like the specific things that I went "huh" about today.

00:16:51   Right? There must be more than three every day. So I've always found this an interesting thing

00:16:58   and a thing that I've struggled with, but I thought it was a nice framework to try and

00:17:04   write some stuff down.

00:17:06   Where I try and write down a number of things every day that I have learned.

00:17:10   But this is a very open thing where it can be like facts, something that's changed my

00:17:16   mind or even just a thing about myself or a thing that I found interesting.

00:17:21   It can be literally anything, but it's just three things that have kind of been in my

00:17:26   mind today is kind of how I approach this. So it can be like something pithy, like something

00:17:34   that I just think is kind of weird or funny, or it can literally be like, "Oh, I found

00:17:38   out this thing about the crown jewels today." You know, like, so three things that I consider

00:17:41   like notable pieces of information for one reason or another that I have accumulated

00:17:46   over the day. And it can be three things. It can be six things. Sometimes it's one thing

00:17:52   or two thing. Right? Like it doesn't really matter, but it's more just what did I learn?

00:17:57   And it can be any amount of things, but I try and aim to do three, but most days get like two.

00:18:02   Right, yeah.

00:18:04   And this is again another reflection thing, like me trying to focus on some stuff that's

00:18:12   happened in a day and just trying to note down some notable items. And then the next one is what

00:18:19   I'm looking forward to. So something that's on the horizon that I'm excited about. And

00:18:25   I have a little personal rule of I can't repeat the same thing over two days.

00:18:30   Right, so you can't say like, I'm looking forward to my upcoming wedding. And you can't

00:18:38   use that for the next six months. It's more day to day. So like, I can have

00:18:44   something that I'm really excited about, which is happening on Saturday, and I could

00:18:47   write it on Monday and Thursday for example but it's more just like I can't write what

00:18:52   I wrote yesterday it has to be different today and that's purely because sometimes there'd

00:18:58   be something happening on Saturday and I would write it in every single day and I feel like

00:19:01   that that's that I'm cheating.

00:19:03   Yeah I think that's cheating the idea of what you're trying to go for there.

00:19:09   And then the last section is writing down my pens but you don't need to know any more

00:19:12   about that.

00:19:15   I want to know much more about that.

00:19:16   Okay well one thing is, like the looking forward to, I use two pens, one pen to write the headings

00:19:21   and one pen to write everything else in, like the body of everything, and I don't use the

00:19:26   same two pens in a row either.

00:19:27   I have to use different pens every day.

00:19:29   Right, so this is a mechanism to help you rotate your pens?

00:19:33   Yeah, to enjoy my hobby more.

00:19:35   The image in my head is of a monk typesetting a book, you know where they have the uppercase

00:19:41   and the lowercase of all of the letters and they're working at a big down.

00:19:45   Like this is my image of you writing out the journal, is you have this array of pens neatly

00:19:52   stored in front of you, and so you just select from this big array of pens.

00:19:59   Is that what's actually occurring?

00:20:00   I typically will go to my office and pick two pens from my kind of top pen selection,

00:20:09   which I keep on my desk at all times, and then take those to somewhere else in the house

00:20:13   and write out my journal.

00:20:15   Ah, okay.

00:20:16   Alright, that's nice.

00:20:17   That's nice.

00:20:18   So you move around in the physical space to do it.

00:20:20   Yep.

00:20:21   And then I keep the journal and the body writing pen with me kind of throughout the day and

00:20:28   will add to it where I need to.

00:20:32   So you're a week in.

00:20:33   How do you think it's going?

00:20:35   It's become part of my routine already, which I'm very surprised about.

00:20:41   I have a daily task in Todoist, right, to complete the journal.

00:20:45   But it kind of gets to a point in the day where I feel like, oh, it's journal time.

00:20:50   Like, and it's not about me being reminded.

00:20:53   Like, I just feel like, oh, I need to complete the journal now.

00:20:57   Or one thing that I've been doing is like I get to a point in the day, I'm like, what

00:21:00   shall I do next? And like, oh, I know what I'll do.

00:21:03   I'll work on my journal.

00:21:05   So, you know, it is a.

00:21:09   It is a part busy work exercise, right? So it's like a work-crastination type dealio,

00:21:16   because I'm sitting and I'm kind of doing a thing which isn't real work and it's kind of maybe

00:21:21   putting off real work for a few minutes. But it's also a thing which is helping me think,

00:21:29   which I like. Yeah, I'm gonna disagree with you there. I think that's entirely a category of real

00:21:35   work. In my time tracking system, I have a category that I call "metawork" and that's

00:21:41   what I would classify this kind of thing as. Is it work like editing a podcast? No. But

00:21:48   it's work like sorting out your brain and what you're thinking about and what you're

00:21:53   paying attention to. That is a kind of work. I like this. You seem to be very hesitant

00:22:00   to let this count, Myke.

00:22:03   - So this again, this has been a trend

00:22:08   of my most recent busy time.

00:22:10   I'm trying to really focus on my to-do list as the work

00:22:16   because there's already so much in there.

00:22:21   I don't need to also consider everything else work as well

00:22:26   because then it's just too much.

00:22:28   It's too much work.

00:22:29   Okay, so you don't want it to count as work because you feel like you already have too

00:22:35   much work.

00:22:36   Okay, yeah, then it's not work.

00:22:37   Then it's just a personal project of yours.

00:22:38   This journal is a counterbalance against the overworking, right?

00:22:43   We're just gonna take this activity out of this arbitrary set of labels and oh look,

00:22:47   we lifted it up and we put it down here in this other set of arbitrary labels.

00:22:52   It's different now.

00:22:55   It's a totally different thing.

00:22:59   I'm sorry Myke, it's not work at all. I didn't mean to even suggest that. I take it all back.

00:23:03   I take it all back.

00:23:04   [Laughter]

00:23:06   [Music]

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00:25:06   A lot of my busyness is self-imposed and I'm very aware of that and I'm trying to

00:25:14   find ways to counterbalance it, to kind of counteract it, to break my thinking a little bit.

00:25:21   Like I am a busy individual. I do have a lot of things going on,

00:25:25   but I know I'm not as busy as my brain tells me I am.

00:25:31   Right and you know that because you do the time tracking.

00:25:35   That's one of the many valuable things about doing the time tracking.

00:25:38   So right now I'm just trying to identify what is making me feel this way.

00:25:44   I mean, because there are days this week where I've been working a lot and my time tracking

00:25:49   reflects it, like abnormal amounts of working hours. And that's fine. I understand that.

00:25:53   I know what's going on. It's all good. But just the overall day-to-day feeling that I've had

00:25:59   for maybe the last two weeks of this complete overwhelmedness, like I need to try and

00:26:04   I need to try and ascertain why I'm feeling this way when a lot of the things that's happening,

00:26:11   not everything, but a lot of the things are on the kind of like the general schedule of things,

00:26:14   the general kind of flow of time. And I have some additional projects and stuff like that,

00:26:18   but logically they shouldn't be making me feel like how I feel right now. So I'm just trying

00:26:29   to work out what is going on and the only thing I have right now is this journal. It's

00:26:38   my only idea so I'm just really focusing on that which is why I wanted to bring it to

00:26:44   discuss today.

00:26:45   You're holding on to this journal real tight because it is the only thing that is keeping

00:26:52   you afloat in the vast ocean of your work that stretches in every direction.

00:26:57   Yep.

00:26:59   Okay.

00:27:01   Good.

00:27:03   Well, I'm going to say

00:27:05   that I think it's a good idea

00:27:07   I'm not going to

00:27:09   poo-poo your journal

00:27:11   and

00:27:13   [sigh]

00:27:15   One of the reasons I will not

00:27:17   poo-poo your journal is because

00:27:19   I have done

00:27:21   something similar to this

00:27:23   and

00:27:25   I always just feel really hesitant to talk about it because there's something so...

00:27:37   There's something so touchy-feely about this that I find myself a little bit repulsed.

00:27:44   But I have totally done this kind of thing and I have definitely found it a helpful exercise at times.

00:27:54   So, yeah, like, I'll pull up what it actually looks like for me, but sort of like, when

00:28:08   would it have been now?

00:28:09   Maybe like a year and a half ago now at this point?

00:28:12   I was sort of going through a bit of a rougher time, like, you know, we touched upon some

00:28:19   of those things, like some of the recurring health issues for my wife and a few other

00:28:23   And it was just like not the best time in the world.

00:28:27   And this was one of the first times I tried this kind of thing because a friend of mine

00:28:33   had recommended it to me and he's like, listen, you're going to feel really stupid doing this,

00:28:38   but you should really try it and it's a good idea.

00:28:40   I was like, okay, fine, I'll give this a shot.

00:28:44   And I did like the, even the way you're laying out your journal, I ended up doing something

00:28:48   that was very similar and I felt so dopey about it because it's like okay in your little journal

00:28:56   here's what you're going to do you're going to write down three things that you're thankful for

00:29:01   as like oh god am I doing am I doing like a gratitude exercise here the answer is yes yes

00:29:06   you are doing a gratitude exercise it's like okay fine so I'll write down like three things that I'm

00:29:12   grateful for and then sort of like you're talking about with the priorities just three

00:29:19   things that I can do that will make the day a good day and then at the end of the day

00:29:26   I would just come back to that list see how things had gone and also just again add like

00:29:34   what were some good things that happened during the day right that's all it was it's like

00:29:38   Like a way of starting something, answering a few questions, setting up the course of

00:29:45   the day in my mind with what are the top things that I want to do as opposed to what is the

00:29:54   big ball of stuff in my task management system, like just pick three things, and then simply

00:29:59   at the end of the day reviewing the situation.

00:30:02   And I did this for the first time when I was on a Greg-cation in an undisclosed location

00:30:10   in Fynn-Oscandia.

00:30:12   And it was stupidly effective.

00:30:16   So effective, I can't believe how effective it was at just changing my mental framing

00:30:23   and also helping just make it really clear about "I only have so much time today, what

00:30:30   are the things that I really need to do?

00:30:32   And so I'm going to try to focus on those things.

00:30:35   So it's not that far off from what you're doing.

00:30:40   I did it for a while.

00:30:43   It is something that I have found nearly impossible to make stick as a part of a regular routine,

00:30:51   even though it's a thing that I in theory would want to do.

00:30:56   I find that I can only really maintain it when I'm in a particular focused or almost

00:31:05   somewhat isolated state of mind.

00:31:07   So it's like I am on a graycation.

00:31:09   I am on like the corporate retreat for one.

00:31:12   And I don't know, there's, I talk about going on these corporate retreats for one thing.

00:31:19   It always, always sounds kind of silly, but it is, they're weirdly mentally draining and

00:31:26   they're very mentally intensive,

00:31:30   and I feel like there's something about having

00:31:33   this little thing running in the background of like,

00:31:37   oh, you're gonna review a little journal

00:31:38   at the end of the day, that is very effective,

00:31:42   but I have just not been able to make it last,

00:31:44   because I almost find like it's too mentally tiring,

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

00:31:52   But yeah, so I've done that.

00:31:55   I've done that almost every time I go away on a corporate retreat. I've sort of over

00:32:00   the over the time I have modified it to add a couple of more questions or little little

00:32:05   spaces. So it's sort of developed into this thing that I now call a like my bookend journal.

00:32:11   So it's like the day starts and the day ends with looking at just these couple of pieces

00:32:17   a paper. But yeah, I never look back at it. It's not a thing that's any kind of archive

00:32:26   for me. It's just entirely a thing that, like I'm on the trip, I have my iPad and the pencil,

00:32:34   and I just fill it out on some fake paper that I had designed for me, which I mentioned

00:32:40   a while back. And I have a pen.

00:32:43   Why did you do that? I just had people stop asking me for the designs the first time around

00:32:49   because you said you were going to share them and you never did.

00:32:53   I have plans to share them at some point, but I just realized as I was discussing this

00:32:57   what I didn't want you to have in your mind, Myke, was the romantic idea of me with a quill

00:33:04   pen and a piece of paper working on this thing.

00:33:05   Do you really believe that I for one second thought you were doing this on actual pen

00:33:09   and paper?

00:33:11   I don't know what's in your head.

00:33:13   - I knew this was on,

00:33:15   'cause you spoke about having this paper before

00:33:18   made for you by a mysterious individual

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

00:33:25   - Yeah, that's where it still is.

00:33:27   - I am happy to hear that you have found

00:33:29   this kind of thing effective too.

00:33:30   It is interesting to me that you seem to speak

00:33:33   really high of it, but can't find a way

00:33:36   to integrate it into your life on a more permanent basis.

00:33:39   That's kind of surprising to me.

00:33:41   it seems like counter to the types of things that you usually do, right?

00:33:45   Find something to be really useful but not like force it.

00:33:49   B: Here is one of the things, this actually kind of rolls up into year of order a little bit,

00:33:55   which is the reason it works when I'm on a great occasion is because I always treat it as

00:34:07   I wake up, I get some coffee and I sit down with this thing,

00:34:11   and I have some blank space. One of the questions I've added over time that I find useful is just a

00:34:15   big blank area that just says "What's on your mind?" and I just sort of write some things down,

00:34:20   just random free form like "What am I thinking about?"

00:34:23   - Oh, that's nice.

00:34:24   - Yeah, it's surprisingly illuminating to just sit and have a blank piece of paper in front of you

00:34:30   and just wait and see what thoughts surface and just go.

00:34:35   Just write them down and it's almost always just kind of

00:34:39   nonsense but very often it will get to things like

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

00:34:46   but not about anything in particular.

00:34:48   And it's like, oh that's interesting, why?

00:34:49   Like let's try to figure this out a bit more.

00:34:51   But on the great occasions I treat it as the first activity

00:34:55   in the morning and I'm able to work it into a routine then,

00:35:00   but in my regular working schedule,

00:35:05   so like now when I'm back home, I'm in London,

00:35:08   and like before I was going to my previous office,

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

00:35:16   which I think in my mind, I think it's now

00:35:18   because I've decided that's where creation

00:35:20   is going to occur, like it's gone from the glass cube

00:35:22   to the glass forge.

00:35:24   the glass forge in the year of order.

00:35:26   Like I like these, I like all of these things.

00:35:29   But it just doesn't fit in the schedule

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

00:35:36   the most important thing, the thing that I try to optimize

00:35:39   for is wake up, take a quick walk,

00:35:43   and then get right to a computer

00:35:46   to work on a script for a video.

00:35:48   Like I've gotta make that transition as smooth as possible.

00:35:51   And doing the journal puts me in a very different kind

00:35:56   of mood, it puts me in a much more pensive big picture mood,

00:36:00   which is not the frame of mind for,

00:36:04   I wanna start revving this engine to get some work done.

00:36:08   And so I've just never quite figured out how to make it work

00:36:12   in a regular routine for me otherwise.

00:36:15   So it has ended up being just largely like a

00:36:20   Gratation kind of thing for me and and that's how I use it

00:36:25   But that's kind of why I was curious like you're a week into it

00:36:28   And I think um I don't think I have ever done it for more than 10 or 14 days in a row

00:36:34   Which is about the longest of the longest Gratations

00:36:36   And then after that it falls apart very quickly when I get back to my regular life

00:36:40   Feel like I'm gonna have better luck than you

00:36:44   because of the secondary purpose that it serves in my life mm-hmm, which is

00:36:50   the act like the action of using my pens because that that brings me joy so like

00:36:57   I I get something out of it which is separate which is like a feeling of

00:37:01   happiness for you for being able to act on a pursuit that I love mm-hmm so like

00:37:08   that's an additional benefit that I get from this then then what then what you

00:37:12   would get but I am I'm happy to hear that it is something that you do as well

00:37:15   just because then I'm not on my own.

00:37:18   (laughter)

00:37:20   I'm a little raw right now.

00:37:23   - No, I totally get it, I totally get it.

00:37:25   And if it hadn't been a friend who I feel like

00:37:28   is not a very airy-fairy person,

00:37:31   suggesting it quite strongly,

00:37:33   I think I never would have tried it in the first place.

00:37:34   Because like, I'm not gonna sit down and write

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

00:37:38   That's dumb.

00:37:40   But like I said, like comically effective,

00:37:45   comically effective at kind of changing your mental mindset. So yeah, it very much works.

00:37:52   I'm going to have a book recommendation for you, Myke, at this point. I know you don't like books.

00:37:59   You're adding something to the work pile. I know that I'm adding something to the work pile,

00:38:07   but listen, never has a more perfect moment come to recommend something and

00:38:15   We don't even have to commit to it being Cortex Book Club.

00:38:19   I'm just going to mention it on the show.

00:38:21   And if you read it and we want to talk about it, then we can talk about it.

00:38:26   We don't have to do it. There's no obligation here whatsoever, Myke.

00:38:31   I'm only ever going to read this if it can be a work thing, right?

00:38:37   Okay, I'm just going to continue talking.

00:38:40   read books now for work. That's the only reason that I would read any book now is to do it

00:38:48   for work. So, yeah. Is it Triggers by Marshall Goldsmith?

00:38:53   Yes, yes. So you saw this in the show notes document. This has been here for a while and

00:39:00   I've been waiting to bring it up because on my last graycation, a different good friend

00:39:06   recommended this book, which the title of it makes me laugh. It's a book that has a

00:39:13   subtitle which is also very self-help-y about creating behavior that lasts becoming the

00:39:18   person you want to be. Everything about that sort of repels me from the cover of the book.

00:39:23   But...

00:39:24   Oh god, it's a leopard changing its spots.

00:39:27   Yeah, I know, right? Did you get that? It took a while, right, for the visual metaphor

00:39:33   there to work its way in. I know. I was looking at that for a while and I was like, what the

00:39:37   hell is this cover? I don't understand. But yes, the cover literally has a leopard changing

00:39:42   its spots. But I read this on my last graycation, which was also at an undisclosed location

00:39:49   in Fino-Scandia, and I thought it was pretty good. Like as far as business books go, I

00:39:54   think this one was pretty good. And what I specifically wanted to do was let it sit for

00:40:00   a while and see if future me was still thinking about it as a thing to come back to and the

00:40:08   answer to that has now been yes.

00:40:10   Like I've left it alone for a while and I still keep thinking about it which means okay

00:40:14   I want to actually reread it and think if there's anything here to extract for me and

00:40:21   it the most actionable stuff is directly related to things that are very similar to doing a

00:40:27   daily journal.

00:40:29   So if you are trying to do a daily journal, if you're trying to figure out the edges of

00:40:35   what that might be, this is the book to read to see if there's anything in here for you

00:40:41   that might be useful.

00:40:43   And I want to reread it to see if there's a way that I can modify my much more intensive,

00:40:53   pensive bookend journal into something that's more like a daily action plan bookend journal.

00:41:01   So I am going to reread this. I suggest that you might want to listen to it on audiobook.

00:41:09   And if you want to, we could talk about it on a future show, but there's no pressure,

00:41:14   Myke, because I refuse to add any more work to your big work pile.

00:41:19   No, let's do it. Let's do it next time. Let's do it. Okay. All right, cuz it's not that long

00:41:25   It's it's a six hour audiobook, which is about a third of what we usually do

00:41:30   So like I feel like I can knock that out by next time. All right, so next episode

00:41:35   we're gonna do a cortex book club and

00:41:37   Maybe for the first time it will be something of use

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00:42:25   will also let you see whether or not the client has seen it.

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00:43:19   Grey, the drought is over. Oh yeah?

00:43:22   The year-long drought of no new Myke Hurley vehicles.

00:43:28   So sad for the internet. It's come to an end and I have a new show

00:43:31   that I'm very excited about and I want to just tell our listeners about it so they can go and

00:43:37   check it out if they want to. It is called "Playing for Fun" and it's hosted by Tiffany

00:43:43   Arment and myself. It is not the big project that I've been teasing. That is still in the offing.

00:43:51   This is the problem when people know that you're working on some kind of big project.

00:43:55   Yeah.

00:43:55   Is that they think everything is the big project, right?

00:43:58   Oh, he just tweeted. Was that the big project? No, it was not.

00:44:01   I've been working on this tweet for four years.

00:44:06   I'm still, the big project is still kind of like being slowly chipped at every few days I will have

00:44:14   a thought or like an idea and like I'm just ever so slowly fleshing that out as to see if it's a

00:44:19   thing that I'm going to do. But this is a project that I'm very excited about. Every episode me and

00:44:25   Tiff pick a video game and we just talk about what we love about the video game. Nothing else.

00:44:32   no bad stuff, just the good stuff. It is a fun, happy, positive show about things we love. We

00:44:39   don't talk about industry news. We don't necessarily focus on the biggest games, the biggest games

00:44:43   right now. We just pick a game that we love and we talk about it and we just talk about what we love

00:44:49   about it. And it is a show that is bringing me a lot of happiness because that's all it's about.

00:44:56   it's just about happiness. And I feel like I get to talk about all of the things that I love.

00:45:03   I've built an incredible job for myself in that I just talk about things that I like,

00:45:10   the things that I'm passionate about, the things that I enjoy in life.

00:45:14   But I tend to talk about them from a critical perspective. So with all of the things where

00:45:22   where I'm talking about Apple stuff, for example.

00:45:25   Or even on this show, I like to talk about working.

00:45:28   It's just a passion that I have.

00:45:30   It's a thing that we both share

00:45:32   in just liking to talk about work.

00:45:35   I also talk about bad things,

00:45:37   like feeling overwhelmed, right?

00:45:39   - Right.

00:45:40   - But this show, Playing for Fun,

00:45:43   we only talk about good things,

00:45:44   so it only makes you feel good.

00:45:46   - You're never gonna criticize a video game, Myke?

00:45:49   - Nope.

00:45:50   - Never. - That's not what this show's about.

00:45:51   I have another show about video games where I criticize video games.

00:45:56   This one is just about good things.

00:45:59   So you can find it at relay.fm/playingforfun or any app that you use or any service that

00:46:05   you use, you should be able to find it there.

00:46:07   It has the best artwork and music of any show I have ever been a part of.

00:46:15   It is next level good.

00:46:17   So if anything, just go check out the artwork.

00:46:21   So yeah, it's called Playing for Fun.

00:46:23   Please go and listen to it.

00:46:24   Even if you don't like video games, because you might just enjoy hearing two best friends

00:46:28   talk about something that they enjoy.

00:46:30   Like we have listeners of The Pen Addict that are like this.

00:46:33   People write into us like, "I don't care about pens.

00:46:35   I just like hearing the two of you talk about something that I don't understand."

00:46:39   So yeah, go and check it out.

00:46:40   I just wanted to spend some time promoting it.

00:46:43   Well, if you do like video games, you should also listen to it as well.

00:46:47   Because whenever Tiff has guested on the ATP podcast, and she talks about video games at

00:46:53   the end, I've always thought she should have a podcast where she talks about video games.

00:46:56   She plays a lot of video games.

00:46:58   She's pretty hardcore.

00:47:00   The way she plays games is crazy.

00:47:02   She's so much better at video games than anyone I know.

00:47:06   It's almost embarrassing.

00:47:08   Yeah.

00:47:09   It's she's she's very hardcore and I've always enjoyed it when she's on ATP talking about

00:47:14   games I thought she's talking about games more so you should go listen to it plus Tiff

00:47:18   has a great podcasting voice she should do more podcasts so I'm glad she's doing another

00:47:22   podcast with you.

00:47:23   All right let's talk about some Year of Order and some so this is part of my year of branching

00:47:29   out by the way both of those things that we've been talking about today I should have framed

00:47:33   it as such but both the journal and the new show that's part of branching out because

00:47:37   These are new things.

00:47:38   These are things that I haven't done before

00:47:40   and I'm branching out by doing those.

00:47:42   So that's actually part of my year of branching out.

00:47:47   - See, this is the nice thing about year themes, Myke,

00:47:50   is they can be inclusive or exclusive

00:47:54   as you desire them to be, right?

00:47:56   I love the year themes.

00:47:58   They should have these fuzzy boundaries.

00:48:00   So much better than goals.

00:48:01   Goals are dumb, themes way better.

00:48:04   And also, okay, so let's be real for a second.

00:48:07   If you set a good theme, literally anything you do can be applied to the theme.

00:48:12   So you always feel like you're progressing.

00:48:14   Yeah, exactly.

00:48:16   Right?

00:48:16   Right.

00:48:16   It's great.

00:48:17   I've just made a new show.

00:48:18   I've done this many times, but it's part of my year of branching out because it

00:48:21   wasn't something I did last year.

00:48:22   So I've branched out, but I could also say, oh, it's nothing to do with the theme,

00:48:27   but I'm going to say it is part of the theme because then I feel like I'm

00:48:29   progressing something in my life, which is great news.

00:48:32   No.

00:48:33   It's fantastic to have in the back of your mind.

00:48:35   I went through a box with a bunch of computer cables in it

00:48:38   and got rid of the ones that I don't need.

00:48:40   Guess what?

00:48:41   Year of order.

00:48:42   - Advance the yearly theme.

00:48:43   I have brought order to the box.

00:48:45   - Yeah, this box, more ordered.

00:48:48   - Oh, the cutlery's out of place.

00:48:51   Let me bring year of order to the cutlery drawer.

00:48:53   - Order, order in all things big and small, Myke.

00:48:58   Right, it's great.

00:48:59   It's great.

00:49:00   - I may leave the house today.

00:49:02   It is part of the year of branching out.

00:49:04   I think that's stretching a little bit.

00:49:05   Obviously, I'm bringing order to the drawer.

00:49:07   But yeah, I mean, that's well within the confines.

00:49:10   Yeah, for sure.

00:49:11   Yeah.

00:49:11   Yeah.

00:49:12   I guess going out for your snow day, the snow day is big enough to, I think, to be your branching out.

00:49:16   Yeah, that's good.

00:49:17   Yeah, I think so.

00:49:18   I think so.

00:49:19   Snow isn't normal.

00:49:20   No, it's not normal in London.

00:49:23   So again, themes, big thumbs up, goals, thumbs down.

00:49:27   So what's going on in the year of order?

00:49:29   Okay.

00:49:34   Okay. I'm back with OmniFocus. That's, that's what's going on right now.

00:49:41   I was,

00:49:43   I've actually been talking to your co-founder of relay FM,

00:49:48   Steven Hackett about this on iMessage a bunch,

00:49:50   which is the cycle of task management apps of going through these regular

00:49:57   cycles of one to the other, to the other. It seems like Steven's in,

00:50:01   in the bit of a, he's in a bit of a transition as well.

00:50:04   So we've been talking about it a bit and I knew this was going to happen and

00:50:09   I feel like I have,

00:50:11   I have mentally settled on a metaphor to try to

00:50:15   describe this process.

00:50:17   And I think it's a bit like a forest fire where what

00:50:22   happens in life is you start out with things really simple.

00:50:26   Like I'm always telling people, "Hey, when you're getting started with task managers,

00:50:29   just start with a piece of paper.

00:50:31   You don't even know what you want.

00:50:33   You don't need to get distracted by any of the complexity, and paper is fine.

00:50:37   So just write down things that you want on a piece of paper."

00:50:40   And then eventually you realize, "Oh, you know what?

00:50:41   I don't want to keep rewriting these recurring tasks.

00:50:44   Let me try to find something."

00:50:45   And so you go to a simple task manager, and then you realize there's limitations in these

00:50:50   simple task managers, and you go to something a little bit more complex, and you keep stepping

00:50:53   it up and then you do have something that is very complex and then I think just like

00:50:59   what you're going through now I personally find that at some point I feel this sense

00:51:09   of vague overwhelming that's hard to pin down feeling like oh I have a whole bunch of things

00:51:14   to do and that's when the forest fire comes through and sweeps it all clean right and

00:51:19   you just and then you start over you're like you know what I'm just gonna be here with

00:51:22   with my iPad and my virtual paper and I'm going to write things down like this for a

00:51:25   little while. And I feel like it's a healthy cycle because when the fire sweeps through,

00:51:33   part of what happens is it's a way of discarding a whole bunch of tasks that you were never

00:51:38   going to get to anyway.

00:51:40   I really would love a nicer metaphor than the one you've chosen upon.

00:51:48   What about tides? Isn't that less aggressive? I don't like forest fires here. Can't we call

00:51:55   it like just like the tide comes in and it sweeps everything away from the beach? It's

00:52:00   way nicer.

00:52:01   No, Myke, you with your happy fuzzy life and your happy fuzzy podcasts. No, it's a forest

00:52:07   fire. Because look, I think it's appropriate because it's very easy in your life that I

00:52:13   I feel like the little tasks, they grow up and around,

00:52:16   sort of just like in a forest,

00:52:18   like the forest becomes too dense.

00:52:20   And also, the forest fire, you have to realize,

00:52:24   like the forest fire is healthy for the forest.

00:52:27   Right, we're not talking about like,

00:52:28   oh, some guy in California throws a cigarette

00:52:30   out the window and the whole state burns to the ground.

00:52:34   They're like, oh, this is,

00:52:35   I'm talking about like a forest fire

00:52:36   out somewhere in like Montana or Wyoming, right,

00:52:38   where it's part of the life cycle of the forest.

00:52:40   and it's actually required for seed pods to germinate, this kind of thing.

00:52:44   So I feel like at the beginning of the year I went through the forest fire when I was on the

00:52:51   graycation and I stepped up to using things which I totally loved and definitely highly recommend,

00:52:57   but I knew I was eventually going to go back to something more complicated and then Omni wrote

00:53:02   their blog post about what their plan for the rest of the year is and I do like some of the things in

00:53:07   there and I thought, okay, things is kind of running up against the limitations of things.

00:53:14   And I also do have to say, I really appreciate it.

00:53:17   I wrote the developers one particular question about like, oh, could they change a thing?

00:53:21   And what I really love is unlike most developers who will say, oh, we'll put that on our list

00:53:26   for consideration.

00:53:28   Things wrote back and said, no, we're never going to do that.

00:53:31   I was like, great, I'd rather know.

00:53:33   I'd rather know that you never know.

00:53:34   - Because now you know that there's no point waiting.

00:53:36   - Yeah, exactly.

00:53:38   And so some of the limitations and things

00:53:41   just became too limiting as I'm back into the regular cycle

00:53:46   of like regular podcasts and regular work

00:53:48   and a whole bunch of other stuff, I need something more.

00:53:50   So anyway, long story short, I'm back with OmniFocus

00:53:54   and so that's what I've been using

00:53:56   for the past couple weeks.

00:53:58   And almost certainly for the next six months

00:54:02   it's what I'm going to be using for a while

00:54:04   and then the forest fire will sweep through and everything will start all over again.

00:54:07   So I've been thinking about this because, you know, alright, so I will tell you right

00:54:11   now I'm playing with things because they just added this new automation system and

00:54:16   it's really interesting and I'm kind of just toying around with it. Like, I think

00:54:21   that ultimately it probably won't make me as comfortable feeling as Todoist does, but

00:54:29   I'm just playing around with it because there's some stuff that it can do which I've wanted

00:54:32   to do with a task manager for a while, but it didn't exist until now, so I just want

00:54:38   to see what that's like. So for example, one big project that I have is this show, and

00:54:45   posting this show just from a point of like when the edit is complete is a two-day process

00:54:51   full of lots of things that need to be taken care of. And we're using something incredible

00:54:59   that our friend Federico Vitici came up with,

00:55:01   which I will link in our show notes.

00:55:02   He created this natural language passing system in workflow

00:55:07   that can hand over a full project into things,

00:55:13   but it has, and I've been adapting and tweaking

00:55:15   with the workflow to the point where I can get

00:55:19   headings in a project, which I've never seen before

00:55:23   in any task manager.

00:55:24   So just like headings, one that says audio,

00:55:27   one that says video, one that says posting.

00:55:30   So it separates out the projects.

00:55:32   I think I mentioned this last time as these non meaningful dividers that things

00:55:36   have.

00:55:37   Which is lovely,

00:55:37   which is absolutely lovely because it can break a project up visually rather

00:55:42   than just this like sea of items that look exactly the same.

00:55:46   Yeah. It's so nice. In OmniFocus,

00:55:50   there's a way that I can kind of trick it,

00:55:52   which is to have these fake sub projects and then have things listed under these

00:55:56   fake subprojects and those aren't real projects in the system.

00:56:00   But I don't like the lack of clarity,

00:56:04   where when I'm looking at the list,

00:56:05   I have to remember, "Oh,

00:56:07   that's not really a subproject,

00:56:09   it's just a thing that I've made so I can

00:56:10   group a bunch of similar things together."

00:56:12   It's one of the very nice things

00:56:15   about things is the visual look of it.

00:56:18   When I first saw the headings,

00:56:19   I thought, "Oh, this is dumb.

00:56:20   I'll never use this."

00:56:22   Turns out, actually one of my favorite things in that app.

00:56:25   the headings is great and it's so visually nice.

00:56:30   So like I've been playing around with this project,

00:56:34   this list of tasks and grouping them out and using

00:56:38   some of the, there's a tool in Workflow called

00:56:42   Magic Variables, which was basically making variables

00:56:47   like a construction set. And it means that someone like

00:56:52   me can use workflow more simply.

00:56:55   So what I've been doing is when I set the task,

00:56:59   when I say I want this project to begin,

00:57:01   what I want is for times to be entered into a to-do

00:57:06   manager that are relative to the time that I started the project.

00:57:09   So I want to be able to start a project and be like,

00:57:13   this thing needs to go off half an hour from the point that I begin.

00:57:16   And no other system that I've been able to use has been able to do

00:57:22   this. So I thought to myself, oh, I can do this in Workflow because I can go into Workflow and I can

00:57:29   say by using their kind of date tools, what is the current time, add 30 minutes to that time,

00:57:35   and then I can drop it into Federico's Workflow as a magic variable. So it can look at the time

00:57:42   that I've selected and been like 30 minutes from now. Right. And I've been able to piece that

00:57:47   together. And so I'm playing around with this. It's just like, what does that look like? So then

00:57:51   I end up with this multiple day project with everything broken out which is all time relative

00:58:01   from this is exactly what I've wanted for this specific project which is posting this

00:58:07   show which is one of the larger projects that I have purely because there are a lot of little

00:58:13   pieces to it that I don't want to get wrong so I have like I don't do this for other shows

00:58:19   because the process is more simple and it's more streamlined and it's easier to repair

00:58:24   if something goes wrong. But with our show it's a little bit more tricky because there's

00:58:28   also like all of the YouTube stuff and you know like if there's something wrong in the

00:58:33   audio it is way harder for me to fix than with my other shows that are just audio right

00:58:40   because I would also have to change the video and like I just so I like to make sure I've

00:58:43   got absolutely everything 100% taken care of before I do anything. So it's a huge list

00:58:48   the tasks and it looks like with this things automation I can create a

00:58:53   templateable project that I can run which will be in a much nicer state than

00:58:58   anything OmniFocus has given me and todoist has given me because I've built

00:59:01   these projects in both of these other apps but I've never been fully happy

00:59:05   about it and it looks like that things can do that and I don't know what this

00:59:10   is gonna mean for me but because I'm still playing around of it. On this point

00:59:15   And the reason I was laughing about all of this is I think I have come up with like a grand unifying theory about to-do apps.

00:59:23   No to-do app will ever be perfect because it is impossible to meet the specific requirements of an undefined user base.

00:59:34   Everyone uses their to-do app slightly differently, even if they follow a system like GTD.

00:59:40   GTD. Everyone has their own preferences. So like it is impossible to create a

00:59:45   perfect to-do app because nobody can ever be satisfied. Because no one is ever

00:59:51   fully satisfied, when a new app comes along there's always the promise of

00:59:56   maybe this is the perfect one and that's why you move to it. And you just keep

01:00:02   doing this in the hopes that over time something will become perfect. But the

01:00:08   funny thing is it never will.

01:00:10   - Yeah, I mean, this is why I've always said

01:00:12   like the market for to-do apps is infinite

01:00:14   because everybody thinks about things in different ways.

01:00:17   But there's even more granular problems.

01:00:21   Like one of the things that has been on my mind

01:00:26   in my move back to OmniFocus

01:00:27   when I'm getting the heavyweight stuff set up.

01:00:31   Like I always feel like going to OmniFocus

01:00:33   is bringing in the big guns.

01:00:34   Like we're serious now

01:00:36   and we're heading into a real serious phase of work.

01:00:38   - Yep.

01:00:39   - But there's a, so here's the thing.

01:00:43   Even an individual user who has a clearly defined idea,

01:00:48   so OmniFocus for me has my projects in it,

01:00:53   so things like posting podcasts and videos

01:00:56   and other clearly work-related stuff.

01:00:58   I have a constrained use for it.

01:01:01   I know how to use the system.

01:01:02   Everything is great.

01:01:04   But even then, you don't always want your to-do app

01:01:09   to have the same behaviors at different times.

01:01:13   And so for example, when do I want OmniFocus

01:01:16   to alert me about something?

01:01:19   When it's due ahead of time?

01:01:22   Like, and right then and there,

01:01:24   that immediately throws you into all of these problems

01:01:27   of, well, the app is designed to set alerts

01:01:30   when a thing is due.

01:01:33   So you have to build your whole system around the concept

01:01:35   of okay, if I want alerts, I need the due dates to be

01:01:38   when I expect the alerts to be, right?

01:01:40   And this is just like behavior in a single app.

01:01:43   And to-do managers are always going to run

01:01:47   into that problem of you have to adapt yourself

01:01:52   a little bit to however they think of things.

01:01:55   Like when I was using the Things app,

01:01:58   I was very aware of, okay, I need to build my system

01:02:02   around the way they manage the today and the anytime lists.

01:02:07   And it's like, oh, okay, this is great, this is fine,

01:02:10   I can get this to work,

01:02:11   but you're always gonna run up against a moment

01:02:13   where you feel like, oh, but I want this thing to appear

01:02:16   in the today list in a way that the app

01:02:19   is never going to do it.

01:02:21   So even within a single app or within a single user,

01:02:24   you're going to want inconsistent behaviors

01:02:28   that are impossible to program for.

01:02:30   of like, oh, I do want alerts on deadlines,

01:02:34   but not for these tasks, right?

01:02:36   But I do want them for those tasks,

01:02:38   or I want an alert for these things,

01:02:39   but I don't want to put a deadline on them, right?

01:02:42   So it's just a, it's a fundamentally impossible area.

01:02:47   And this is one of the reasons why for years now

01:02:50   I have actually used multiple to-do apps

01:02:53   because I try to categorize different sorts of activities

01:02:58   that I'm looking for.

01:03:00   And this is why the longest running one now

01:03:04   is To Do For Me, the number two D-O,

01:03:09   where I use that for what I think of as my starting the day

01:03:14   and ending the day in other routines

01:03:17   because I can have that app act the way

01:03:20   that I want these particular kinds of tasks to be.

01:03:24   And that app happens to be really great

01:03:27   at the ability to say, sort of reset a day,

01:03:31   where it's like, oh man, I've totally blown off

01:03:32   all my routine stuff, but I just want to press two buttons

01:03:35   to like reset tomorrow and 20 things just work.

01:03:39   It's like, that's great, that's totally fine.

01:03:40   It works because there's a constrained set

01:03:43   of things in that app, and they're quarantined

01:03:47   from OmniFocus, which is a different kind of thing,

01:03:50   where like, resetting a day is a fundamentally

01:03:52   impossible thing to do.

01:03:54   So even if you're willing, like me,

01:03:57   to go to the mental effort of saying,

01:04:01   I'm going to division certain kinds of tasks

01:04:04   that make sense to put these ones over here

01:04:05   and those ones over there,

01:04:07   you still always run into this problem of,

01:04:10   we kind of want to do managers to read our minds

01:04:13   and show us exactly what we want to see

01:04:16   when we want to see it

01:04:18   in a way that is impossible to programmatically define.

01:04:21   And of course it is also very easy to get enticed by the shiny to give it to give it a try because I feel like like a brand new journal or a physical notebook.

01:04:32   It holds the promise of a better future.

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01:06:23   Gray, let's do some ask cortex questions. I need to lighten this mood a little bit.

01:06:28   I need to go out into the world and pick some questions from our listeners to help

01:06:35   me right now. Does that sound good?

01:06:38   >> If questions from the listeners will help you, Myke, let's do questions from the listeners.

01:06:42   - Grey, it always helps me. And the first one comes from Chad. And Chad says, "If you were

01:06:48   applying for a new job today and had to update your resume, what fonts would you choose?"

01:06:53   - Do you have like a preferred font for stuff? - Well, no. What my brain was just mentally

01:07:06   rolling back there is realizing that the last time I put together a resume, I was doing

01:07:15   it in LaTeX. I don't have any idea how I would reset...

01:07:20   What is that? Is that like a letterpress? What is that?

01:07:24   Okay Myke, anybody who's done a PhD, they will know what LaTeX is.

01:07:28   Oh, look at you! Um, if you'd have done a PhD, then you'd know.

01:07:33   Because obviously you don't know Myke, you didn't do a PhD.

01:07:38   Well, I didn't do a PhD either. Right. Just to, just to be clear here,

01:07:43   I, I, uh,

01:07:45   closest I got to a PhD was dropping out of a master's course in economics.

01:07:50   Sorry, Dr. Gray.

01:07:51   I came across it because when I was a physics student,

01:07:54   the people who were doing the PhDs introduced it to me and they're like, Oh,

01:07:57   Hey, here's this thing that you can use to write papers.

01:08:00   And you actually hit precisely what it is.

01:08:03   It's, if you think of the monk

01:08:06   who is manually typesetting a book,

01:08:08   LaTeX is the computer version of this.

01:08:12   So I would say it's like a,

01:08:16   think of like Markdown.

01:08:17   Make Markdown 10 times more complicated,

01:08:21   but it has a whole bunch of commands

01:08:23   that allow you to produce a thing

01:08:27   that looks like it has been professionally typeset.

01:08:31   Latex is a thing that will produce just beautiful,

01:08:36   beautiful looking documents.

01:08:38   - How is this spelled?

01:08:40   - Capital L, lowercase a, capital T, lowercase e, capital X.

01:08:45   - So why do you say it latex?

01:08:49   - Because I get nervous about how I'm supposed to say it

01:08:51   because in my head, I would always call it latex,

01:08:55   but then people would tell me

01:08:56   that I'm pronouncing it wrong and I think it's supposed to be lay tech and I've heard

01:09:02   people say LA tech. I've heard a million different things, but all I know is if I ever say it

01:09:07   out loud and I say latex, then the people who are actually doing PhDs start scoffing

01:09:13   and they're like, Oh, okay, well you don't really know this thing. But anyway, the reason

01:09:19   I was mentally rolling it back is because I would just use a ton of the defaults in

01:09:24   this markup language so I have no idea what font that would have picked when it was spitting

01:09:29   out my resume.

01:09:30   So I don't know, I don't know, Chad.

01:09:33   I would pick a safe font.

01:09:37   I think that's what I would do.

01:09:39   Something nice and safe.

01:09:41   But presumably in this scenario I would be applying to a school and you just want to

01:09:46   convey safety and boredom in that resume as someone looking to get another physics teaching

01:09:53   So you're gonna be like Ariel Calibri or Times New Roman?

01:09:57   Yeah, Times New Roman, yeah, that's probably which way it would go, yeah.

01:10:01   What about you, Myke?

01:10:02   Uh, Jokerman and Comic Sans, let's really just wrap this one up.

01:10:07   Uh, no, uh, I have two...

01:10:11   typefaces?

01:10:13   That I like? I think that's the right phrase.

01:10:15   Yeah, there you go, right, yeah, trying to figure it out.

01:10:17   That's like me, yeah. How about this, Latex? I don't know.

01:10:20   I'm saying that typeface. I like Gotham and Futura

01:10:24   Mmm, and they're good. They're good the fonts that I like

01:10:29   Futura bold

01:10:32   mm-hmm and

01:10:34   Gotham I think medium I like my favorite so I would try and find something within those typefaces

01:10:40   to use in Futura and Gotham because I like them and

01:10:45   Especially Gotham, it can look just relatively normal looking.

01:10:50   Like Futura in many styles can be like a little bit too much, right?

01:10:54   You kind of look like you're really going for a thing.

01:10:57   But yeah, they're my two favorites.

01:11:00   Although I am very, very partial to a font in Google Docs called Creepster,

01:11:06   which I use quite liberally in our show notes document,

01:11:11   when there's a thing that we have to talk about that you don't want to talk about.

01:11:14   So like business stuff is all written in the creepster font,

01:11:19   which is basically this like bloody dripping thing.

01:11:21   - Scary Halloween font. - Yeah, I love it.

01:11:23   - Yeah, right. - That's my favorite.

01:11:25   - So you'll put that at the top of our shared document

01:11:27   and it will just say Q3 scheduling, right?

01:11:31   Because you know that I don't wanna talk about it at all.

01:11:34   - Yeah, it's to convey that everyone understands, right?

01:11:38   It's like, this is scary stuff, but we have to do it.

01:11:43   Nathan asked, on the topic of the Year of Order,

01:11:46   I'd love to hear an update on how both of you deal

01:11:49   with email these days,

01:11:51   especially with helping your assistants.

01:11:53   Have either of you tried services like Missive

01:11:56   to let assistants triage your inbox?

01:11:59   - I don't really wanna talk about email because--

01:12:06   - Oh good, because I have another email question

01:12:08   for you next.

01:12:09   (laughing)

01:12:12   I will just say that like you are feeling overwhelmed.

01:12:16   This one of the things that for me triggered the idea of I need a year of order is that

01:12:21   my year of redirection left.

01:12:26   I'll put it this way.

01:12:27   It left all of my communications with the outside world in total chaos, including my

01:12:34   email.

01:12:35   Uh, the number of times I opened my email last year was very, very few.

01:12:41   And so while I have many sub projects that are going on in the year of order, I want

01:12:48   to set up my physical space and then I want to work on my routine and get that really

01:12:53   narrow down.

01:12:55   But one of the things immediately after that is I need to work my way through this terrifyingly

01:13:05   large communications backlog that I have on many fronts across many things.

01:13:11   So I don't really want to talk about email now.

01:13:14   I'm going to have to deal with that at some point later.

01:13:17   A couple of days ago we were talking and you kind of mentioned in passing I haven't looked

01:13:24   at email in months and I just there is like a part of me that's like I can't believe that

01:13:31   that is true.

01:13:33   Like you can't mean that like absolutely right?

01:13:39   Well I mean sometimes websites will send you verification codes through your email and

01:13:43   you need to click on those right and so yeah I've opened email for that sort of thing but

01:13:49   as we have discussed as we have discussed in the past though almost almost everything

01:13:57   that is of any importance to me now either people just know to contact my assistant director

01:14:03   because it will get them vastly faster turnaround than trying to contact me directly or it's things

01:14:11   through Slack. So part of this is a structural problem that I try to limit how much time I spend

01:14:18   on administrative stuff and so Slack and things coming straight from my assistant are much higher

01:14:26   up on the queue of importance and so the hit rate in email has gone way down but

01:14:33   I do really mean it that is I have not I have not looked at email in any

01:14:36   meaningful way in a very very long time I have an enormous backlog of who knows

01:14:43   what in there and it's it is time to it's time to get out the shovel and go

01:14:50   through that at some point in the future but not not today not tomorrow but you

01:14:55   know, later. There are so many things that me and you agree upon when it comes to getting

01:15:00   work done, but our approaches to email are polarizing.

01:15:07   I think about that every time I see an email notification on your watch. I just want to

01:15:12   be clear. I totally know that that works for you, and it clearly does, but it makes me

01:15:18   sort of smile on the inside every time that we're together in person and I see a little

01:15:22   and there's the email notification on your watch.

01:15:24   And it's just like, this is one area

01:15:26   where we live very different lives.

01:15:28   - If I use the application airmail right now,

01:15:32   like to do apps, never fully satisfied

01:15:35   of email applications, but I have it set

01:15:38   with all of the preferences on my iPhone

01:15:40   and even on my iPad, that basically an inbox,

01:15:44   like a list of email, you can kind of see

01:15:47   in like an inbox view, maybe about seven

01:15:50   or eight emails at a time.

01:15:52   kind of like at one time.

01:15:55   If I have to scroll that list, I'm very uncomfortable.

01:15:58   So at a given time, there is typically never more

01:16:03   than eight emails in my inbox.

01:16:05   And they're not being hidden,

01:16:07   like they're being one way or another dealt with.

01:16:11   We have very, very different approaches to email.

01:16:15   It's really very different.

01:16:18   In regards to sharing email with people that I work with,

01:16:21   I would like to try and find a system for this eventually,

01:16:25   because right now it's a lot of forwarding going on,

01:16:28   which is not ideal really.

01:16:31   - Oh yeah.

01:16:32   - Right, and it's also with the situation I'm in,

01:16:35   the way that I've got things working for me,

01:16:38   it also wouldn't work for me to share my email inboxes,

01:16:41   and there'd be way too much discussion

01:16:42   about what email needs to be dealt with by who.

01:16:45   I want to be able to find an application or a service

01:16:50   where you can kind of like assign email,

01:16:52   but I haven't been happy with anything

01:16:54   that I've seen so far.

01:16:56   Maybe one day I would like that.

01:16:57   But the triaging of my inbox is currently served

01:17:02   by my Apple Watch, that is my triage.

01:17:05   Assistant is my Apple Watch.

01:17:06   And then Neelesh asked,

01:17:09   "How do you manage your personal business email?

01:17:12   Do you separate them across different applications

01:17:14   or do you keep them all in one app?

01:17:15   Do you use unified inboxes?"

01:17:17   I'm just assuming that like it's all goes in one huge bucket for you and it all is not

01:17:22   dealt with.

01:17:23   Yeah, that's correct.

01:17:24   One gigantic unlooked at pile.

01:17:27   Even when I've been more on top of my email in the past, I've never really found the hassle

01:17:32   of multiple inboxes worth it for me.

01:17:34   Again, that's a side effect of the way I have structured my businesses, but I've just I've

01:17:39   never found the payoff to be worth it.

01:17:41   I have everything all go into one place.

01:17:44   going to find inbox one application personal business email because honestly like email

01:17:50   that is personal is not personal. Really. Like all of the email that I get that would

01:17:57   be deemed going to a personal account. It's still like transactions and things that need

01:18:02   to be checked upon. You know, like it's never really like my buddy sending me an email.

01:18:08   People don't email me like they have other ways to contact me. Right. That like it tends

01:18:13   to be all work no matter what email address it's going to.

01:18:17   This one comes from Raphael.

01:18:19   Grey has commented a couple of times about taking note of every idea that he has so he

01:18:24   can get them off his mind and deal with them later.

01:18:27   How does Grey deal with having ideas in bed right before sleeping?

01:18:30   Does he pick up his phone and take notes or does he just let it go in hopes that he remembers

01:18:35   the idea the next day?

01:18:36   Okay, this is going to be really unhelpful, but I fall asleep very fast.

01:18:44   So I get into bed and then it's morning.

01:18:50   So this is not a problem that I really have to deal with.

01:18:54   You made a disgruntled noise there, Myke.

01:18:56   I'm guessing this is not your situation.

01:18:59   No, it's not.

01:19:03   My situation is I have to just wait until I can't be awake anymore.

01:19:10   And so I do things.

01:19:11   That's why you go to sleep?

01:19:12   Yes, that's why I go to bed at like 2am, because it's like, body can't sleep.

01:19:17   I like sleeping, hate going to sleep.

01:19:19   Once I'm sleeping, it's awesome, don't want to stop it.

01:19:24   But the act of like, going to do it, I hate it.

01:19:29   I hate it.

01:19:30   So like I just would do things until I can't be awake anymore.

01:19:35   There's like this weird thing like in my mind I feel like I'm just kind of just wasting

01:19:38   time like I might as well just be reading Twitter for an hour and wait until like my

01:19:42   eyelids are starting to close.

01:19:45   So bad.

01:19:46   I think everything in my life that would be deemed unhealthy, the way I approach sleep

01:19:52   is the least healthy part.

01:19:54   Like it's really bad.

01:19:56   I can see though that it sounds like you and my wife are using the same sleep strategy

01:20:00   which is only when exhaustion grasps you by the throat

01:20:06   grips you and you cannot escape

01:20:09   or is that like "I'm a little sleepy" I lay down boom almost immediately I'm asleep

01:20:15   I'd hate that I would hate that

01:20:18   well luckily you don't have to suffer from that Myke

01:20:21   yeah or sleep next to you I guess because that would also drive me mad

01:20:25   Yeah, let's not do that.