46: External Thinking Tool


00:00:00   Previously on Cortex. What I did and what I was kind of alluding to is this thing where I have spent a very

00:00:08   significant part of January breaking down the entirety of

00:00:14   How do I work? What are my systems around work? How do I use task management? How do I organize notes?

00:00:20   Breaking down absolutely everything to nothing and

00:00:24   starting over

00:00:27   You've got the voice for that

00:00:29   That was really good. You should look into that.

00:00:33   I swear to god I would do voiceover work if I could.

00:00:35   Would you?

00:00:36   I really would. It seems great.

00:00:38   Shall I try it as well?

00:00:39   Yeah, you go ahead.

00:00:41   Previously on Cortex.

00:00:43   Mmm.

00:00:44   Oh, I should maybe try it with the American accent? I think it works better with the American accent, right?

00:00:49   Can you do it with an American accent?

00:00:50   Shall I see? Let's see what happens.

00:00:52   Previously on Cortex.

00:00:54   No, that is terrible. That's not an American accent at all.

00:00:57   Previously on cortex. This is getting worse. You need to abort Myke. I

00:01:01   Just end up just moving further and further south down my American accent attempt

00:01:07   Yeah, your first go was the best and your last go was the worst

00:01:11   All right. Well, at least we know the two of us who do the voiceover work when it's time for the movie

00:01:15   So yeah last time mm-hmm. You spoke a little bit about the fact that you had decided to

00:01:25   Go bare bones with your task management

00:01:29   Break everything down go to a new

00:01:33   unmentioned location

00:01:36   somewhere in England I suppose and

00:01:40   Or I don't know. Maybe you went to the continent. Who knows I was in an undisclosed location in

00:01:47   Finno Scandia that my wife sent me to

00:01:50   Because you were

00:01:55   She knows me. She knows me very well. She was like, "Hey buddy."

00:02:01   "It's time to start making some money again." "You need to get out of the house and you

00:02:05   need to reboot." So you were flown off to a faraway land and

00:02:13   you broke everything down and you started over for your review of the year and you did

00:02:18   it on pen and paper, which is very different to the usual grey way of iPads and the like

00:02:27   that we believe in. So you decided to break it all down. And I wanted to kind of touch

00:02:32   on this a little bit. When did you first realise that pen and paper was a good system to kind

00:02:39   of do a re-tooling of your task management?

00:02:43   Okay, Myke. We need to... we need to rewind all the way back to a childhood gray.

00:02:51   A little gray from a long time ago. My father is a lawyer and he's always had around the house

00:02:59   these legal pads ever since I was a little kid. And they have always been a thing that I would like sketch on

00:03:09   and write on and always felt like an external thinking tool.

00:03:18   Like, how do I think? I need to write something down.

00:03:21   Ever since I was a little kid, this is always a thing that I have done.

00:03:25   And throughout my life, as I have transitioned from various tools

00:03:31   and different ways of working,

00:03:34   I have always been aware that there is something that is just different about paper that is really helpful in some scenarios.

00:03:47   And when I was a teacher, I ran my whole system entirely on paper because I found that that was actually the best tool to solve the problem that I was trying to solve at that time.

00:04:01   And if for some reason I went back to being a teacher,

00:04:04   I would almost certainly do the same thing again.

00:04:07   That I would run that system on paper,

00:04:10   because there are cases where paper is just better.

00:04:13   Like having a clipboard with a bunch of sheets arranged in a particular way,

00:04:17   sometimes you're never going to beat that.

00:04:19   Not even with an iPad.

00:04:21   But more importantly, there's two things that I did at the beginning of the year.

00:04:25   It's breaking down the organization system and doing the review.

00:04:30   These are slightly different tasks.

00:04:34   So in doing a big review,

00:04:36   when I say here that I am using paper,

00:04:39   that is paper in quotation marks

00:04:42   because I was actually using good notes on my iPad

00:04:46   with paper templates.

00:04:49   So I actually worked with Frank,

00:04:52   a designer that you have worked with for Relay,

00:04:54   who is fantastic.

00:04:56   And I knew I was gonna be doing just a ton of this,

00:04:59   thinking work for my seasonal review.

00:05:03   And so I messaged Frank and I asked him to create for me

00:05:07   a whole bunch of templates that were

00:05:11   legal pad papers. So I had him

00:05:15   essentially recreate from my

00:05:19   childhood all of the possible paper templates

00:05:23   a man could want. And so I was like, "Listen buddy,

00:05:27   I'm gonna be doing a bunch of writing and a bunch of thinking. I'm gonna need some graph papers,

00:05:32   I'm gonna need some yellow legal paper, I'm gonna need wide line, I'm gonna need narrow line,

00:05:37   I'm going to need them in blue and green and pink. And he ended up creating for me just a fantastic

00:05:43   set of these papers. Even added in a very extremely subtle soft paper texture,

00:05:50   which was really nice. He's a professional, you know. He's very professional.

00:05:55   These things were just great and this is a case where for thinking about stuff paper

00:06:02   I find this this useful

00:06:04   tool that's hard to

00:06:06   In some sense, it's hard to say what's going on

00:06:09   But it allows it allows me to kind of like write out and sketch out some ideas you have this this freeform

00:06:16   Nist to it. It's like you're not constrained into a particular application

00:06:20   And so when I was doing a bunch of the reviews and thinking about my workflow

00:06:24   So it was really much a process of like, I'm just going to sit here in this undisclosed

00:06:28   location in Finiscandia and I'm going to have this digital paper in front of me.

00:06:34   All right, so okay, you lost me just a touch here.

00:06:38   There was never actual paper.

00:06:40   No, we'll get to the real paper, Myke.

00:06:42   Don't worry, there's real paper.

00:06:43   There is real paper.

00:06:44   We're going to get to that in a minute, right?

00:06:45   Okay, good, good.

00:06:46   But I just want to, I want to specify like there's two different things here.

00:06:48   Okay.

00:06:49   I'm sitting down with the digital paper and I'm just kind of writing out and going through the seasonal review.

00:06:55   The seasonal review has like a bunch of questions that I sort of ask myself and things that I'm thinking about.

00:07:00   But I do really like having the digital paper for this stuff because I do like to keep a record of the previous reviews that I have done.

00:07:09   And so I want to be able to kind of sometimes go back and see like what have I looked at in the past, like what has been on my mind.

00:07:15   And so I do like to have a record of this stuff and

00:07:19   there's an enormous amount of like sketching and other things that I'm doing that help with thinking through things

00:07:28   so something else that I did was like I

00:07:31   by hand

00:07:33   recreated a little overview calendar for the entire year and I was using that to

00:07:38   Roughly plan out like when are things going to happen in the year? What are the periods of the year where I'm going to be?

00:07:43   busy, what are the periods where I'm not going to be busy, and this is a case where

00:07:49   like doing it by hand even though in some ways it's like well that's

00:07:53   ridiculous you could download a PDF that would have an overview calendar for the

00:07:56   year and just fill that in. It's like yes that's true but there's something about

00:08:01   doing it this way that is intentional that it it it slows you down and it

00:08:09   focuses your mind very clearly on the task at hand. So I find this just a

00:08:16   ridiculously useful and very valuable process to kind of like rethink

00:08:23   absolutely everything about what I am doing. And in the process of doing this I

00:08:30   realized that I wanted to rework my entire organization system which brings

00:08:38   us to the actual physical paper, Myke. Are you happy? We get to the real paper at this

00:08:43   point.

00:08:44   I am very happy, but there's something that I want to go back to.

00:08:47   Okay.

00:08:48   Tumbling across "I want to redo my entire organizational system" is quite a revelation

00:08:54   to have. I just, I feel like I just have to point to that. Like, how do you get there?

00:09:01   Well...

00:09:02   Like, that's not your run-of-the-mill, everyday kind of thought, which is like, I want to

00:09:06   you do everything, especially as someone you really pay a lot of attention to this, like

00:09:12   this is something that you've fiddled around with for an amount of time and had come to

00:09:16   a place where you'd stuck to, right? So, you know, over this show we spoke about you moving

00:09:21   to to-do, away from OmniFocus and back to OmniFocus because it gave you what you needed

00:09:26   with the right trade-offs and that was where you had stayed and it really sounded like

00:09:30   I'm there, I'm in it, GTD forever.

00:09:34   I think there's an undercurrent of GTD not working that great for me in the show when I do talk about it sometimes.

00:09:40   - Yep.

00:09:41   - This to me fits into this question of, though I didn't have the word for it at the time,

00:09:46   the year of

00:09:49   redirection.

00:09:50   - Mmm.

00:09:50   - And so what's occurring here is as I was doing this big review and as I was spending a bunch of time

00:09:58   concertedly focusing on how do I work. I was just thinking of a lot of the ways that in the previous year I had had

00:10:06   frustrations or

00:10:08   difficulties or like a lack of smoothness in a bunch of the ways that I work.

00:10:13   And

00:10:16   the thing that I was thinking about when I decided okay, I'm going to start over and

00:10:20   build up.

00:10:22   It is like I am still in this process now. I don't have a definitive answer for like what have I built up to?

00:10:28   I'm still very much in the middle of thinking about all of this and working on this, but it doesn't necessarily mean

00:10:34   that I'm building up to something that is

00:10:38   entirely new and different from whatever it is that I used before.

00:10:43   It's like we mentioned last time when we were discussing

00:10:47   talking with another person forces you to think about your reasons for why are you doing a thing and

00:10:56   starting over with

00:10:58   like how am I going to arrange my work? This is a way of like, oh I've built up this castle

00:11:04   but let me take it apart and let me

00:11:07   examine all of the individual bricks and then say like, is this brick, should this brick be here?

00:11:13   Should this thing be replaced? As we're building up to some kind of structure that we're going to live in, let's

00:11:19   re-examine the decisions that we made. Because maybe some of these things, and I know for a fact some of these things are built on

00:11:25   foundations that are years old at this point. It's like, did these assumptions still hold true?

00:11:30   Is this still the best way to work for me now?

00:11:34   Maybe.

00:11:35   Maybe not.

00:11:37   So that's what this, like, rebuilding the system is.

00:11:41   It's a way to force a re-evaluation of all of the parts.

00:11:47   And yeah, it's not something that I want to do very often.

00:11:50   It's been a long, long time since I've done something this extreme.

00:11:55   So yeah, it's just... that's what's occurring here.

00:12:00   [BEEP]

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00:14:17   Now let's talk about the paper.

00:14:19   Okay, of course you want to know. He's obsessed with the paper, Myke. You're obsessed with the paper.

00:14:23   I'm not even gonna ask you what pen and paper you were using.

00:14:27   Like, physical stuff. Because I know it's only gonna upset me.

00:14:30   I couldn't even tell you what I was using.

00:14:33   This is why I didn't want to ask, because I figured you'd either say that or you'd tell me something that would just make me sad.

00:14:38   Like, "Oh, what was in the hotel?"

00:14:40   I mean, that is the answer.

00:14:43   We went on a quest, I gave you pens, you know?

00:14:49   Yeah but it's like dude, it was in some other location, you know?

00:14:53   I was working with the tools that were available to me at the time, it was fine.

00:14:55   Did you just pick up the iPad that was there as well, right?

00:14:59   Just whatever iPad they had laying around.

00:15:01   No, I brought my iPad Pro with me and I was working on those beautiful templates that

00:15:05   Frank made me.

00:15:06   But no, for the actual physical paper, I used what was available to me, Myke.

00:15:12   I couldn't even tell you what it was besides it was a pen and they were index cards and

00:15:19   pieces of paper.

00:15:20   Okay.

00:15:21   I'm sorry.

00:15:22   It's okay.

00:15:23   It's okay.

00:15:24   I don't want to talk about it.

00:15:25   Okay.

00:15:26   That's fine.

00:15:27   Let's just move on from that.

00:15:28   I don't want to talk about it anymore.

00:15:29   So at what point does actual paper have to come into this?

00:15:32   You've clearly gotten to a point where like, "I know what I'll do.

00:15:34   I'll get this digital paper.

00:15:35   That will be better."

00:15:37   But then you still ended up coming back to physical pen and paper again.

00:15:40   Okay.

00:15:41   So, again, the digital paper is about the overall review.

00:15:46   And the one thing that falls out of this

00:15:49   is rework the organization system as part of this process.

00:15:52   Like there's many other things

00:15:53   that fall out of the overall review,

00:15:55   but this is just one of those things.

00:15:57   Now, why am I using actual physical paper

00:16:01   to try to rework the system?

00:16:03   It's because, just like the digital paper

00:16:09   kind of frees you from a bunch of the constraints,

00:16:14   like you can sort of do whatever you want with it.

00:16:16   When I'm working with physical paper,

00:16:19   it's a similar thing of, like I'm trying to write down,

00:16:22   what are the things that are on my mind?

00:16:23   Like what are the things that I'm trying to work towards?

00:16:26   And what I ended up doing is having a bunch of index cards

00:16:31   and pieces of paper and just sort of,

00:16:33   like what I'm trying to do is put the work in front of me

00:16:38   so that I can see it all, right?

00:16:40   That I can like look at everything all at once

00:16:43   and think about how do I want to arrange this kind of thing.

00:16:47   And though I am a man with many iPads,

00:16:52   there are not enough iPads in the world

00:16:54   and it's not convenient enough to be able to have like

00:16:57   a table where there's seven iPads in front of me

00:17:00   where I've written a bunch of things.

00:17:02   Like with actual paper, you can really spread out

00:17:04   and then try to move things around and like organize stuff

00:17:07   and say, "Oh, does this go over here?"

00:17:08   It's a way of thinking visually and thinking physically,

00:17:13   like rearranging items and moving things.

00:17:17   So this is the huge advantage of using actual

00:17:21   physical paper for this kind of thing.

00:17:23   I also think it's a big advantage that

00:17:27   if you don't know what it is that you want to do,

00:17:31   you can't answer the question,

00:17:35   what tool is best for accomplishing this task?

00:17:40   And so many of the times when we have discussed in the past

00:17:43   task managers or similar tools,

00:17:46   it becomes very much a question of

00:17:49   like what are the features of this task manager?

00:17:53   What can it do versus what other task managers can do?

00:17:56   You know the joy of switching from one task manager

00:17:59   to another is really a process of learning

00:18:03   how the programmers of the task manager want you to arrange all of your things.

00:18:07   Yep.

00:18:08   And like, anytime you use any task manager,

00:18:12   doesn't matter what it is, doesn't matter how fantastic it is,

00:18:16   there is some process of you need to mold your mind

00:18:21   to the way the programmer thinks it is sensible to organize information.

00:18:26   It's just fundamentally unavoidable.

00:18:29   And that is also why I always say that there is an infinite market

00:18:32   for task managers because everybody thinks in a slightly different way and everybody wants a slightly different set of features and

00:18:39   the market can always accept another task manager for whom some

00:18:43   portion of the audience will say "Oh that is perfect for me. It does this one thing in this way that is just right for my brain."

00:18:49   So putting all of the work on paper is a way to

00:18:53   avoid that. It's a way to try to think about how to organize stuff without feeling constrained by

00:19:01   Things like ooh, does this task manager support start dates? How does this thing handle recurring items?

00:19:07   It's like that that's down in the weeds that's down in the details and I'm trying to think about it

00:19:12   From a much higher level like what is the thing that I'm working on? What am I trying to achieve here?

00:19:19   So I'll just say at this point that I am in Todoist now, which is something I've been talking about for far too long

00:19:27   Mm-hmm the process of moving the tasks was horrific

00:19:30   I can only imagine. Because it has to be done manually. Of course. And there are

00:19:40   things that I like about it and there are things that I don't like about it.

00:19:43   Mm-hmm. One of my biggest things that I don't like is exactly that around

00:19:47   something like recurring tasks. Mm-hmm. It has the functionality for them but

00:19:52   doesn't really have the UI for it. Mm-hmm. You have to write it in in the language

00:19:57   that it understands.

00:19:58   Yeah, I've seen that.

00:20:00   There are nuances to that language and everyone that I speak to that uses Todoist is like,

00:20:05   once you learn the language, you're good, which I totally appreciate.

00:20:09   And it is that language that I think will be the ultimate reason I stick with Todoist

00:20:15   because the idea of natural language processing or not necessarily natural language, but being

00:20:22   able to speak to the application is valuable for me.

00:20:27   why I don't imagine ever moving away from FantasticOwl because I know how to type into

00:20:33   FantasticOwl the appointment.

00:20:37   And I love that.

00:20:40   And Todoist has that feature.

00:20:42   I'm still getting my head around it but it is I think what will keep me there because

00:20:47   I am able to talk to Todoist and say to it I want to set this task at this date and I'm

00:20:55   now using projects which I've never used before because it's really easy to add those because

00:21:00   you just type them in. So in a way to try and see if categorizing this and I honestly

00:21:05   I think the time tracking has helped me think about projects in my to do's and I'm trying

00:21:12   to match those up and seeing what that looks like like giving things the same kind of names.

00:21:20   I don't know what that's going to result in yet but I feel like that there could be something

00:21:23   there that helps me kind of compartmentalize my work a little better.

00:21:29   I'm still playing around with the automation.

00:21:31   I've signed up for Zapier.

00:21:34   I want to come back to that at some point in the future.

00:21:37   Yeah, that's a big thing.

00:21:39   That's a whole thing.

00:21:41   But Zapier is a service like If This Then That, which allows you to connect web services

00:21:46   together.

00:21:47   is very powerful and a lot more powerful than if this than that more complicated,

00:21:53   but more powerful and it can do some interesting things.

00:21:56   So I'm still playing around with all of that and trying to work out

00:21:59   how to do ist can and moving to Google Calendar and all of that stuff.

00:22:04   That stuff is all still at play.

00:22:06   But on a general day to day, so I have been running OmniFocus

00:22:10   and to do ist in parallel to make sure that they're working the way that I expect.

00:22:14   It's a huge thing to do.

00:22:16   That is a fun phase in any transition.

00:22:19   Like this is all the kind of stuff

00:22:20   I'm trying to avoid with paper.

00:22:21   It's like Jesus Christ, I don't want to think about this.

00:22:23   But yeah, that is a horrible phase

00:22:25   where you're running two task managers

00:22:27   because you want to make sure

00:22:29   that the one isn't missing things

00:22:31   that is still in the other one.

00:22:33   - 'Cause here's the thing,

00:22:34   I have an incredible level of trust in Only Focus.

00:22:38   Todoist has to win my trust.

00:22:40   - Oh yeah, of course.

00:22:41   - Right, and just in, you know,

00:22:43   like even in the adding of tasks,

00:22:44   I'd be like, has it really set that to be,

00:22:47   do what I think it's set?

00:22:49   Like I've asked it to do this every second Tuesday,

00:22:52   does it understand what that is?

00:22:53   And like when adding the tasks, I was checking them off

00:22:56   and seeing what date it would come up next.

00:22:59   So I'm still in that process

00:23:00   and it's a disgusting process to be in,

00:23:03   but it's kind of just the way that these things have to go

00:23:07   because unfortunately there is no share.

00:23:10   I really wish that a protocol like email existed for tasks.

00:23:14   Keep dreaming buddy.

00:23:16   - It's never gonna happen now

00:23:17   'cause we're too far down the rabbit hole.

00:23:19   Why would such a thing exist?

00:23:20   It's too late now.

00:23:22   But I really wish that something like that did exist.

00:23:24   So we could move to do applications

00:23:26   as easily as we could move email apps.

00:23:29   Anyone that's listened to this show for long enough

00:23:31   will know that we love to do.

00:23:33   So I'm very interested in continuing this path of Todoist

00:23:39   and I think that once I am used to it,

00:23:43   it really will be the natural language engine

00:23:46   that keeps me there more than anything else.

00:23:49   That that has already, by far and away,

00:23:52   been the most interesting part of it.

00:23:54   So far, even more interesting than the automation,

00:23:57   which was the thing in my brain as the reason.

00:23:59   It was the kicker, and I think as time goes on

00:24:03   and I integrate the automation,

00:24:05   that will become a second pillar of why

00:24:07   Todoist is superior for me, I hope.

00:24:10   but me just being able to type in and also with using the Amazon Echo dictate tasks with

00:24:17   this natural language engine I think will become the reason that I stick with it. But

00:24:23   it's it's I'm still very much in the I wouldn't even call it honeymoon phase. Basically me

00:24:30   and Todoist have moved in together and currently we're finding the things that annoy each other

00:24:36   about each other. We are in that phase right now and we're currently just trying to find

00:24:41   some common ground on some things.

00:24:43   Oh Myke, I understand your pain here. I really, really do. Everything I'm doing is trying

00:24:52   to avoid this for as long as possible before I do like a "which tools am I switching for"

00:24:58   thing because it is such an enormous hassle. It is always a rejiggering your brain to thinking

00:25:05   the way the other thing works. It is a process of regaining trust in another. It is no fun.

00:25:13   It is no fun to do. It's a thing you want to do as rarely as possible.

00:25:18   You're living in fear for a while. Yes, yeah. That is an excellent way to put

00:25:23   it. It's like, what terribly important thing is

00:25:27   not going to happen because I switched from OmniFocus to Todoist? What is it? Is it that

00:25:34   I just forget to show up for something or do I forget to send in my tax return?

00:25:40   What is it that it's going to make me do?

00:25:43   Or I know I have things in my various to-do applications that are sometimes years out,

00:25:50   like a "remind me in two years" kind of thing.

00:25:53   It's like, it's really hard to make sure that you have all of those bases covered.

00:25:59   Luckily, my total amount of items is about 50 items.

00:26:04   As we've spoken before, I try and run my to-do manager

00:26:09   as lean as possible, so that is good.

00:26:12   I can only imagine for you it is more than that.

00:26:15   I don't know by what factor, but I imagine it is more.

00:26:18   And I know that many people listening will run their

00:26:22   to-do apps very differently to the way that I do, right?

00:26:25   And we'll have more.

00:26:27   and I could have more but I try my best to not do that.

00:26:31   And there are other little things I still need to get used to,

00:26:33   like I haven't changed over some of the templates that I made,

00:26:37   but I know I can do that,

00:26:38   but that's more work that needs to be done.

00:26:40   And another thing about all of this is I just really hope

00:26:44   that Todoist sticks because otherwise I need to do this

00:26:47   all over again going back.

00:26:48   - Yeah, that's the dread is doing it in reverse again

00:26:51   if it doesn't work.

00:26:52   - 'Cause I have done this with Todoist before.

00:26:55   But my reason at that time was todoist notifications of alarms,

00:26:59   like of notifying you of a task was really bad, their implementation of it,

00:27:04   but they fixed that now. So that, and I didn't know that until it was too late.

00:27:08   Right.

00:27:10   But I have enough people that I trust that I know are incredibly productive

00:27:14   people that use Todoist now that I'm willing to, to,

00:27:18   to go back to it.

00:27:20   Today's episode of Cortex is brought to you by FreshBooks.

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00:27:38   or maybe you're getting ready to take a trip up to the mountains or to some secluded

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00:29:47   So this brings us to the types of to-do applications that are available.

00:29:52   And you touched on this a little bit about the fact that there are kind of like a couple

00:29:58   of different strains that you can go here.

00:30:00   You can go basic or you can go advanced.

00:30:02   So I thought of a couple of examples to set the stage, Greg.

00:30:06   So I was thinking about like, you know, maybe some of the ones that we've spoken about

00:30:10   over time and kind of what these applications are and then some of the features that go

00:30:16   go into them. So you have basic applications, basic applications like reminders, clear,

00:30:24   Google tasks or Google keep. These are basically more along the lines of keeping a list and

00:30:31   maybe, not always, maybe setting a due date to those items. Many people don't set due

00:30:36   dates to items, they just have lists, which is a perfectly valid way of doing things and

00:30:42   And it's just about kind of the way that you work and the way that you need things.

00:30:47   And then you have advanced applications, applications like OmniFocus, Todoist, and they bring with

00:30:53   them things like automation, functions with them to make reviews of your work, forecasts,

00:30:59   like where you can see multiple days at once, and then maybe something like deferring tasks

00:31:06   as well.

00:31:07   And you can kind of live anywhere on this spectrum.

00:31:10   I maybe run my to-do application more in the basic camp, but choose to use an advanced

00:31:17   tool because I like to have, if I want it, things like automation and APIs so other applications

00:31:25   can talk to my to-do app, which is what pushed me down this road, and forecasts, which I

00:31:30   really like, so I can see multiple days at once and can kind of plan out what's coming

00:31:34   over the next seven days.

00:31:36   but I don't do a lot of the stuff that you might do when it looks like maybe running

00:31:41   from a more GTD system. There are so many of those things that I don't do, like deferring

00:31:48   and things like that, which you need an advanced application for. So I feel like I maybe have

00:31:55   a more basic system but want to use an advanced application so I can pick and choose from

00:32:00   the things that I want to use. But something like Reminders is too simple for me to just

00:32:05   have this one long list that I always have to look at, or these multiple lists. I just

00:32:11   don't find reminders or clear or something like that to be a robust enough application

00:32:15   for me. So, it is abundant that you have in the past needed an advanced application for

00:32:22   your advanced system. Do you have a feeling for where you might be falling now that you

00:32:27   sat down and looked through some of this?

00:32:29   It's an interesting question like and it's an interesting

00:32:32   It's an interesting time that you're asking me because I don't have a solid answer.

00:32:37   I would much prefer to do the show when I feel like I

00:32:40   Am coming with an answer and here here's the thing that I have discovered

00:32:44   what I'm doing with paper and

00:32:47   what I'm thinking about with my tasks in this way is

00:32:51   trying to feel the outlines of

00:32:56   What have I been dissatisfied with and what am I trying to do in the future?

00:32:59   And so on a very big level

00:33:03   when I think about

00:33:05   how I am refocusing this year is

00:33:09   being aware of one of the things that I found kind of draining with

00:33:15   using like a very advanced system in OmniFocus is that there was not any end

00:33:22   to this system ever. Right, like there was

00:33:25   sort of no sense of completion because I had an enormous number of things in

00:33:34   OmniFocus and I had them tracked very very precisely and I say okay this is great

00:33:40   this is a system that grew out of my previous systems over a long period of

00:33:45   time but when I'm sitting here with pieces of paper trying to think about

00:33:48   how do I want to work this is a problem that I feel like ah I've identified

00:33:52   something here which is a lack of a sense of completion. Which is also something that my old

00:34:00   system that I used to use when I was a teacher was a part of that that I was really aware of.

00:34:06   Of building into that you know when the day is done because this part of it is complete the end.

00:34:13   It's like, "Oh, okay, this is an interesting thing to realize that I've worked myself into a system

00:34:18   that doesn't have that and that's a feature that I used to have and that I find very important

00:34:23   and very helpful.

00:34:24   Would you say that maybe there was something in the structure of your work now that doesn't

00:34:30   inherently have that end? Like when the kids go home, there's maybe a couple of tasks left

00:34:38   and then that's it, right?

00:34:40   Right. So this is exactly like I'm very much of the belief like things happen because of

00:34:46   like the structure in the world, right? So why did my system as a teacher have a clear end?

00:34:50   Because there was a clearer way to end things as a teacher, right?

00:34:54   And like why did the system that I built up over years as a self-employed person not have any kind of end?

00:35:00   It's because, well, it's this is this is the nature of the work, right?

00:35:04   This is this is the nature of what it is that I'm doing. There isn't any end. There's always more that can be done.

00:35:09   It's like, okay, well

00:35:11   after doing this for a large number of years, I'm realizing I don't like this so much.

00:35:15   And so in redirecting how my work is going to unfold over the next year, part of what I'm really trying to do is building in regular, distinct, clear breaks and trying to really stick to those as much as is possible.

00:35:33   Like, we'll see how it actually goes, but that's the idea.

00:35:36   And so what I was thinking is, well, whatever system I build up, I want it to be able to support this.

00:35:43   I want to have some kind of clear end or sort of cycle within the system.

00:35:52   So this is an example like what are the things that I'm trying to identify around the edges

00:35:56   and that's one of these things that I'm trying to identify around the edges.

00:36:00   It's like can I build up something that creates a sense of completion

00:36:05   that can also work with the schedule for what I'm trying to do over the course of the year.

00:36:11   And so it's funny Myke because you have this list of like applications in the show notes of the various

00:36:18   to-do managers and

00:36:21   What are they like and you know what various features do they have?

00:36:24   But the thing that I have been playing around with a little bit just

00:36:28   Not even with the intention of using it as a primary task manager

00:36:32   But just simply because like oh, this is the digital tool that most closely replicates the paper

00:36:37   let me just play around with it a little bit is actually using Trello, which I don't know if you've ever

00:36:43   Used or tried I use Trello a lot. Oh, do you? Mm-hmm? Okay, how would you describe?

00:36:49   Trello to the listener because I'm not I'm not I feel like I am the worst person in the world to describe this tool because

00:36:56   I think I'm using it in a way that nobody intends it to be used Trello is built from

00:37:01   the process of

00:37:04   Kanban, if you are familiar with that,

00:37:07   if you know what that is, you can immediately visualize Trello.

00:37:12   If you're not familiar with it, which many of you would not be,

00:37:17   I wasn't until I used Trello for the first time.

00:37:19   Imagine that you have a bunch of tasks and you write all of the

00:37:25   tasks down on index cards,

00:37:26   and you have a process that you need to go through to get a task to

00:37:33   be complete.

00:37:34   So you line up all of your tasks and they're at the starting line.

00:37:39   And the process can be written out into columns.

00:37:45   So you can have part one, part two, part three, and part four.

00:37:48   And you move each task across the columns, so it moves from left to right, and then it

00:37:54   is complete.

00:37:55   That is like the easiest way that I would describe how this type of Trello system would

00:38:00   work in that you what you were doing is taking things and moving them around from place to

00:38:05   place and as they're being moved you can update them you can add information to them but the

00:38:10   idea is that you get them from the start line to the finish line and you do that by visually

00:38:16   moving them through this process moving them from column to column and they can move backwards

00:38:22   and forwards depending on how you set up the columns but they were always moving through

00:38:27   So the way that I use Trello a lot is for the sale of a sponsorship.

00:38:35   So Stephen set this up when I told him that I feel like I didn't have a good visibility

00:38:40   for how sponsors were sold through our process and I wanted to work with him so we could

00:38:46   understand it a bit better together and he created this thing in Trello.

00:38:49   So every sponsor is a card, so they're their own little card.

00:38:53   So imagine that each sponsor is an index card.

00:38:56   And we move them through our process from initial contact made to if we're progressing

00:39:01   to a sale and then if we've sold.

00:39:04   So that is what I use Trello for a lot.

00:39:07   We also use it for when we're setting up big event and we also use Trello for goals when

00:39:12   we're setting goals and even for our assistant.

00:39:15   So when we're looking at trying to hire an assistant, we have a Trello board for that

00:39:18   and we have all of the different tasks that we may want them to do and when they might

00:39:22   do them and if it's the right person and all that sort of stuff.

00:39:25   So me and Steven use Trello a lot to plan big picture stuff for the business.

00:39:30   I didn't realise I was speaking to such a Trello expert.

00:39:33   I thought you might have like a passing familiarity with it, but I was like, "Oh, Trello, I have

00:39:37   twenty of them!"

00:39:39   Yeah, I have all the great Trellos.

00:39:42   So there you go, that's what I use Trello for, and considering the fact that you were

00:39:46   using index cards, I'm not surprised that you're using something like Trello.

00:39:52   Yeah, again, I wouldn't even say that I'm using it.

00:39:54   I'm just playing around with it.

00:39:55   - Sure.

00:39:56   - But yes, it's an interesting thing to play around with

00:39:58   because not entirely, but it does largely avoid the problem

00:40:03   of like learning a specific task manager

00:40:08   because it just simply doesn't do most of the things

00:40:10   that most task managers do.

00:40:12   - And it is very malleable.

00:40:14   - Yeah, it's very malleable

00:40:16   and importantly it's very visual.

00:40:18   So I was like, okay, let me move these things around.

00:40:20   And so I've been going through this process

00:40:22   of sometimes working on paper, putting things in Trello,

00:40:25   sometimes rearranging things in Trello,

00:40:27   and then sometimes writing it out all again on paper

00:40:30   just to think about like, ah, let me mess around with this.

00:40:33   It's an iterative cycle back and forth,

00:40:36   thinking about how to best organize my work.

00:40:38   - Trello is really good to use

00:40:41   if the work that you're doing has a process

00:40:44   that is not dictated by Trello itself.

00:40:47   - Yeah.

00:40:48   there is an external process that has to happen

00:40:52   and Trello can support that.

00:40:53   So like for creating YouTube videos,

00:40:56   the process can just be the different stages

00:40:58   in which they are.

00:40:59   And if you're working on multiple YouTube videos at a time,

00:41:02   you can move them through from process part

00:41:04   to process part, you know?

00:41:06   - Yeah, it's relatively free form

00:41:10   compared to most other things,

00:41:13   which I would say is like both its strength

00:41:16   and its weakness.

00:41:17   But it's an interesting thing to play around with.

00:41:20   I know a while back I had sort of messed with it

00:41:23   a little bit just as an interesting tool to look at

00:41:25   and never really thought about it much since then.

00:41:29   - Yeah, it was recently acquired.

00:41:30   So that is a concern.

00:41:32   - Oh, I know.

00:41:33   (laughs)

00:41:36   It's just like, oh, the acquired news.

00:41:38   - However, it was acquired by a company

00:41:41   that would feasibly want the system that it is.

00:41:44   - Yeah, but you know.

00:41:45   - But they may just change their business model.

00:41:47   Who knows? All we know is it's acquired.

00:41:49   Yeah, but yeah, so it's an interesting tool just to check out and it's a thing that I've been thinking about and

00:41:54   I stumbled upon it because as I was trying to work through my

00:41:58   system, I did just keep thinking of

00:42:01   some stuff that I have mentioned in the past as having looked at but I spent a lot of time very seriously looking at

00:42:10   which is

00:42:11   Scrum, which is a

00:42:15   a working process that is clearly designed for teams is not at all designed for individuals

00:42:22   but has some interesting parts to it that feel like, "Oh, maybe this could work with the way that I want to work."

00:42:31   And it involves things like

00:42:34   having clearly defined start and end times for particular batches of work, which is a feature that I'm looking at.

00:42:42   And the other thing I was really aware of when I was thinking about how have I worked in the past and

00:42:46   the one thing that having like a list of

00:42:51   tasks that are falling out of templates that doesn't that doesn't serve so well is

00:42:57   coming up with realistic estimates for how much can you do at a particular time and

00:43:07   And this is something else that like a the process of Scrum attempts to do. Again with one person

00:43:13   it doesn't work very well at all. It's designed for teams, but it's something that I've just been

00:43:17   thinking about like, "Oh, are there pieces of this

00:43:22   that I can adapt for individual use for the way that I want to work?"

00:43:27   And so like this is another thing I spent some time on, you know, I read a couple of

00:43:31   books on Scrum and just again, it's very funny to read a book

00:43:36   It's like designed for a gigantic corporation of like how does this gigantic corporation arrange their many multiple teams across entire systems?

00:43:44   It's like I'm just trying to read through it and see like is there something here that I can pull out

00:43:50   For myself, but it's through through that process of like okay scrum is this process

00:43:56   It uses tools like Trello. Let me just play around with Trello

00:44:00   Let me just explore this a little bit while I'm in this this building up phase

00:44:05   So that's where I am with my current state of things. I do have to say I feel a bit like I am a

00:44:13   like I'm on a tightrope without a net because I'm not using any of my regular systems. I really did

00:44:21   burn everything down to the ground. So you're like actually using no app right now? Like other than

00:44:28   Trello tinker around with?

00:44:30   At the moment I am literally using

00:44:32   nothing

00:44:34   except like some index cards

00:44:36   and some Trello tinkering.

00:44:38   But it is a very temporary phase

00:44:40   like this doesn't last forever.

00:44:42   Because this is partly like going back to

00:44:44   the idiot pre-any-system

00:44:46   me who like "I'll just remember the things

00:44:48   that I have to do!"

00:44:50   Which is a terrible strategy.

00:44:52   It's an absolutely horrible strategy and I'm not really

00:44:54   doing it but it's like okay

00:44:56   have three big things to keep in mind like the next video, the next Hello

00:45:00   Internet, the next Cortex. These are the three main things that I really

00:45:04   need to keep track of and so I can run on that for a little while while I think

00:45:10   about how does the rest of this system work. And I think that it is

00:45:14   genuinely beneficial to do this because it is just as finding the edges of like

00:45:20   What do I need? What do I need to do?

00:45:22   I have a little bit of support in the fact that before doing this I moved some basic

00:45:30   reminder things into To Do. So there's like

00:45:34   maybe 20 little recurring items in To Do. Then I'm just like I'm always gonna forget this stuff.

00:45:39   Like this is just the bare minimum. It might as well be reminders.

00:45:42   Yeah, and I guess between that and your calendar like

00:45:46   you're getting through without the big system supporting it all.

00:45:50   Exactly. And what's also funny is like, just by using To-Do and by using a calendar,

00:45:54   I'm already using more tools than like many people I know use to really work.

00:45:58   But from my relative perspective, it's like, this is a precarious situation here.

00:46:04   So I am just playing around with these things and trying to figure out

00:46:08   what is it that I ultimately want to build up to.

00:46:12   And my current state is I'm trying to pull out the useful parts of systems like Kanban,

00:46:22   the useful parts, or the still relevant parts I should say, of getting things done and trying

00:46:28   to see if there's a way to adapt Scrum to sensible individual use.

00:46:34   But I would be very curious to hear from anybody in the audience if they have any other kind

00:46:40   of like actual systems that they use or that they care to recommend.

00:46:46   Like I'm in a very open, accepting feedback time of my system.

00:46:51   So I'd be curious to see if anybody has any thoughts on any systems.

00:46:55   Leave links in the comments and I will definitely check things out and spend a bit more time

00:47:00   exploring.

00:47:01   Today's episode of Cortex is brought to you by DICE.

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00:47:58   and Real AFM.

00:47:59   It is that time again, CGP Grey.

00:48:02   Ask Cortex.

00:48:03   We turn to our audience of amazing people.

00:48:07   Hello audience.

00:48:08   Hello audience.

00:48:09   And these are people that submit their questions to me on Twitter with the hashtag #AskCortex

00:48:13   or they leave comments in our Reddit thread and they go through and they will give me

00:48:19   some questions that they would like for us to discuss on the show.

00:48:23   And we will start off today with Philophus who asked what our sleep schedules are like.

00:48:29   Do you have particular times that you aim to go to bed or wake up?

00:48:33   What are those times?

00:48:34   Why those times?

00:48:36   And what effect does this have on your productivity when you're observing them?

00:48:40   Well you live on East Coast time, don't you Myke?

00:48:43   Isn't that your sleep schedule?

00:48:44   I live on Myke time now, I don't even anymore.

00:48:51   What does that mean that you live on Myke time?

00:48:54   Because it's just adapted and warped so much.

00:48:58   I originally thought I was going to be living on East Coast time, but it hasn't really turned

00:49:03   out to be that way.

00:49:05   I go to sleep between 12 a.m and 3 a.m.

00:49:10   Oh god.

00:49:11   And I wake up between 8 a.m and 10 a.m.

00:49:15   Oh.

00:49:16   But those times do not match up in the way that you would think that they might.

00:49:21   For example...

00:49:23   All right, I see immediately what you're going for here, yeah.

00:49:26   I went to bed at 2 a.m, I think last night, about 1.32 a.m, somewhere between there,

00:49:33   and I woke up at 8 20 today.

00:49:36   But the day before I went to sleep,

00:49:41   I think at like 1 30 and I woke up at 10.

00:49:44   - Okay.

00:49:46   - It's all over the place.

00:49:47   I have expressed to you the last time that we met up

00:49:51   that I'm becoming more interested in sleep tracking as well.

00:49:56   And this is something that is on my radar

00:49:58   to try and find the tool or tools that work for me

00:50:02   allow me to do this because I don't know what effect sleep has on my productivity honestly

00:50:11   because my thesis is that it doesn't purely because as it stands right now my sleep schedule

00:50:20   is so erratic and my productivity is not very erratic is at least the way that I feel about

00:50:29   it because for me it's more like time. Like I don't feel like I'm like oh I wasn't very

00:50:36   productive today so I didn't spend much time working today or I spent a lot of time working

00:50:40   today and as we've already established a lot of the amount of time that I spend working

00:50:45   is not like how inspired was I that day because I worked so strictly to a schedule. So there

00:50:52   is a quality aspect that can't be judged by time so that's like a whole other thing which

00:50:58   is really difficult to kind of nail down, but there is an inverse that I'm interested

00:51:04   in which is if I work longer hours, do I wake up later the next day? That's the only thing

00:51:10   I'm interested in learning right now.

00:51:12   I recommend to you an app which is called AutoSleep, which is a thing that I have been

00:51:19   using to track my sleeping time based, just like the time tracker toggle from the recommendation

00:51:26   of Federico Viticci. I don't know if you're aware, Myke, but that guy's pretty good for

00:51:31   recommending things.

00:51:32   Yeah, I live a lot of my life based upon the recommendations he gives me.

00:51:36   Yeah, so I've been using Autosleep, and the app does a lot of things with regard to sleep,

00:51:45   but the only thing I care about really, which is what it does, is it does a pretty good

00:51:50   job of estimating just the length that I was asleep. When did I go to bed and when

00:51:56   did I wake up? And I want to track this because for the longest time I used to

00:52:05   use an app called Sleep Cycle to do the sleep tracking, but that suffered from

00:52:10   the effect of I needed to turn it on before I went to sleep and turn it off

00:52:14   when I woke up in the morning. And here is the thing that I definitely know from

00:52:19   from looking at that sleep data is,

00:52:21   when I need the sleep data the least,

00:52:25   is when I'm able to record it the most.

00:52:29   So when it's like, I am bang on my schedule,

00:52:32   everything's going great,

00:52:34   I'm waking up at the exact same time every morning,

00:52:36   I'm having a nice productive day,

00:52:37   I'm going to sleep at around the same time.

00:52:39   It's like, yeah, I've got tons of data

00:52:41   for like perfect rock solid, every day is the same data.

00:52:46   And then there'll be periods where there's like,

00:52:47   There's no sleep data recorded whatsoever.

00:52:49   And I was like, but that's when I want the sleep data the most.

00:52:53   Because those are the periods of time where my sleep is less regular.

00:52:58   I'm staying up later, which is terrible for me.

00:53:00   And then I'm sleepy, and I forget to turn the app on.

00:53:03   And then I'm not paying any attention to when I wake up in the morning.

00:53:05   So it's like this inverse correlate.

00:53:07   I have data about my sleep over the past year,

00:53:10   but all it indicates to me is there's some gaps, which

00:53:13   were probably not great times.

00:53:16   And so I really prefer and like having something that just does it automatically so I can keep an eye on this kind of stuff.

00:53:23   The reason that I do want to keep an eye on it is simply because I am really aware that the sleep cycle has a tremendous amount to do with how productive I am.

00:53:37   And like if I fall out of a regular sleep cycle, that's a thing I really want to be aware of and really want to keep an eye on.

00:53:47   Because that really matters for me.

00:53:49   And so when I'm in sometimes the process of rebooting and like getting back into a productive phase,

00:53:57   one of the primary things that I am focusing on is like boot yourself back into a regular waking cycle.

00:54:05   and that has a huge effect on the rest of my day.

00:54:09   So what are those times? What are those ideal times?

00:54:12   Uh, okay, my ideal wake-up time is...

00:54:16   is sometime between 5.30 and 6 am is my ideal wake-up time.

00:54:21   And...

00:54:23   Yeah, but the thing is, I'm an old man getting sleepy at 9 pm, right?

00:54:28   And like, probably asleep by 10 o'clock.

00:54:32   Okay.

00:54:33   All right, like lying to himself about like, "Oh, I'm gonna read a book before I fall asleep," right?

00:54:38   But actually like falling asleep immediately is the usual nighttime. Like, "I'm gonna read a book."

00:54:44   No, I'm not. I'm gonna lie to myself that I'm gonna read a book and I'm just gonna fall asleep

00:54:47   immediately. Which is also why I'm a terrible dinner companion because people are like,

00:54:53   "Let's have dinner." It's like, "Okay, great." I'm like, "I made an appointment at eight."

00:54:57   It's like, "Oh, f*ck, like eight o'clock at night? Like you gotta be kidding me."

00:55:02   - You know, for the early bird special.

00:55:04   Is that a thing we can do?

00:55:05   - Yeah, exactly.

00:55:06   You know, like I wanna meet you in the afternoon.

00:55:08   You know, Myke, like if we ever socialize,

00:55:10   like when do we socialize?

00:55:11   2 p.m. in the afternoon.

00:55:12   - 2 o'clock in the afternoon.

00:55:13   - That's my perfect, like it's great.

00:55:14   That's my perfect time.

00:55:15   Like if everything's going great,

00:55:17   I've done all my work in the morning

00:55:19   and now you get me for the afternoon time

00:55:21   when I'm not gonna get any work done anyway

00:55:23   and it's nice and early.

00:55:24   Like that's what I wanna socialize with people, 2 p.m.

00:55:27   and nobody else in the world wants to socialize

00:55:29   at that time.

00:55:30   But you know for me that that's a bigger thing like maintaining the regular sleep schedule

00:55:35   it's a big deal and I have found that earlier is is

00:55:39   Definitely better by like a huge order of magnitude in terms of actual productivity

00:55:44   Previously on the show. I recommended the retro 51 tornado as a pen. Oh, this is your pen thing. Okay

00:55:52   Mm-hmm Brian has written to ask

00:55:54   What is the fountain pen?

00:55:56   equivalent of this

00:55:58   Is this the pen addict all of a sudden? What happened here?

00:56:01   Yes, yes it is. Look, every now and then I want to throw one in for me, you know?

00:56:05   This is just for my enjoyment right now. So Brian, I would recommend the pen that you have

00:56:12   already pointed out that your partner is using, and this is part of the reason that you want to

00:56:17   do this, is to buy your partner a gift. I would recommend the pen called the Pilot Metropolitan

00:56:22   because it is a cheap pen, it's a cheap fountain pen, and it works great.

00:56:26   But if you want to go a little bit more than this, I would recommend for you a TWSBI Eco

00:56:31   as a next move up. I will put links in the show notes to these.

00:56:36   That's good call.

00:56:36   And I also, this is a pen that, thank you, this is a pen that takes ink,

00:56:40   like you need a bottle of ink for this. And I will also put a link to a line of inks that I

00:56:46   think work really well with this. It is called the Pilot Iroshizuku line of inks. So they will all be

00:56:52   in the show notes and I will recommend to anyone listening to this show to try out either

00:56:58   the Retro 51 Toneo, the Pilot Metropolitan or the Fisbee Eco if you have any care at

00:57:04   all for pens because they are a fantastic trio.

00:57:08   Yeah, don't just use whatever pens they have in the hotel.

00:57:11   Don't.

00:57:12   Myke does not approve.

00:57:13   You deserve better, listener.

00:57:15   You really do.

00:57:18   R. Elvin asked, "What did you both want to be when you grew up?"

00:57:21   Well you wanted to be a professional podcaster, right Myke?

00:57:25   Only from the age of like 20, 21 maybe.

00:57:30   Oh okay.

00:57:31   But I had dreams as a kid, you know.

00:57:33   What were your dreams Myke?

00:57:35   So I wanted to be a few different things.

00:57:36   I did actually want to be a radio DJ so...

00:57:39   Okay so essentially a podcaster, yeah.

00:57:42   But that was when I was really young.

00:57:44   And then as I grew up a little bit there were two things that I really wanted to be.

00:57:50   One of them was a teacher.

00:57:53   Specifically for children with special needs was the thing that I was very interested in

00:57:58   as a young man.

00:57:59   I could see that.

00:58:01   It was something that I was very passionate about, but then kind of moved away from as

00:58:06   I got older just because I also became quite career minded.

00:58:11   And it seems like at least in teaching, you're quite boxed in to the amount of movement that

00:58:17   you can take and advancement that you can take.

00:58:19   There aren't a lot of paths, it seems.

00:58:21   Yeah, that is definitely correct.

00:58:24   And I just learned about myself as I grew up that I needed to be challenged, and that

00:58:30   I felt like I would run out of challenges before I then had to be something that maybe

00:58:35   I wasn't interested in being, which was like a headmaster.

00:58:38   Yeah, this is actually a perennial problem at a bunch of schools, is retaining ambitious

00:58:43   talent precisely because of that, that it's a very narrow pyramid to climb in only one

00:58:50   direction and very often people don't want to climb in that direction but they want to

00:58:56   continue advancing and this is definitely like a career problem that some teachers do

00:59:02   run up against.

00:59:06   Then I wanted to be a police officer.

00:59:09   That I cannot see. Thumbs down.

00:59:11   I know, right?

00:59:12   And this was the job that I had that I was something that I was sure I wanted to do until

00:59:18   maybe I was like 17.

00:59:20   It was something that I really wanted to do and it wasn't that I wanted to be a beat cop

00:59:26   like patrolling the streets of London.

00:59:28   Right, with your billy club.

00:59:29   I wanted to be a detective.

00:59:31   That's what I wanted to be.

00:59:33   That was something and it's still something I'm very interested in.

00:59:37   I wanted to be a detective.

00:59:38   I wanted to solve crimes.

00:59:40   Hm.

00:59:41   I cannot see that.

00:59:43   That's my eclectic list of jobs.

00:59:45   Cannot see that, Myke.

00:59:46   No.

00:59:47   I am not physical enough to be a police officer.

00:59:49   This was what I realised in my life, is that there is a lot of it that I wouldn't be good

00:59:55   at, so I did not pursue it.

00:59:58   I'm not tough enough, basically.

01:00:00   I think you're doing a better job as a professional podcaster than you would do as a police officer.

01:00:05   Just gonna put that out there.

01:00:06   Thank you so much.

01:00:07   Why did you want to be when you grew up?

01:00:11   I mean, when people ask this kind of thing

01:00:15   I feel like what this question is asking is, what did the dumb kid version

01:00:19   of you want to do? And I feel like I have very little patience for

01:00:23   most of this kind of stuff. Like when I was a kid I had all sorts of dumb

01:00:27   ideas about things that I wanted to do, but it's because as a kid you don't know anything about

01:00:31   the working world. And even here, like into the teenage years

01:00:35   I think I think this is the same thing. It's like Oh Myke you want to be a police officer?

01:00:38   But like you haven't thought anything at all about what being a police officer really entails. I wanted to drive cars really fast

01:00:43   Like this is yeah, this is this is like your idea when you're younger about what the working world is like

01:00:50   And and so yeah

01:00:53   There's a bunch of stuff that like my parents tell me that younger me was interested in doing when he grew up

01:00:58   But I feel like I don't really care what that kid thought about anything

01:01:02   He didn't know anything about anything.

01:01:04   But what did he want to do though? Come on.

01:01:06   Just, yeah, like, oh, it's like

01:01:08   Uhh, what was my other thing?

01:01:10   Apparently at some point I wanted to be a paleontologist

01:01:12   It's like, because of like dinosaurs

01:01:14   and I haven't thought anything at all about what being a paleontologist is like

01:01:16   It's like, oh, you ride dinosaur skeletons all day? Surely being a paleontologist is like, no, you're outside in the hot sun

01:01:23   moving a toothbrush over a bone for hours if you're lucky

01:01:27   Right? It's like, ugh, no, it's a terrible, it's a terrible thing

01:01:30   I think the first serious career that I had a somewhat reasonable idea about, which is the same reason that I didn't go into it, was that when I was in college, I was really aiming towards being a college physics professor.

01:01:49   I thought like, this is a thing that I really want to do.

01:01:53   And over the course of being at college

01:01:57   was a process of coming to the conclusion that

01:02:01   like, this is not a job that I would really want to do.

01:02:05   There are parts of it that I would really want to do, like driving a fast car,

01:02:09   but the actualness of becoming a physics professor

01:02:13   I realized like, across every front

01:02:17   is like, this is no. Like, this does not match up with me.

01:02:22   It's like,

01:02:24   realizing that I am neither smart nor patient enough to do a PhD program. It's like, there's no way this is gonna happen.

01:02:31   I will lose my mind if I have to do this.

01:02:33   Realizing I did-- I ran-- at some point I ran some numbers on

01:02:39   like, how many

01:02:42   PhD tenure track positions are there in the United States every year

01:02:47   versus how many physics graduates are there. It's like whoa these are

01:02:52   terrible numbers and

01:02:55   Just realizing like a bunch of things about myself as well like I just don't have the temperament to focus on a single task

01:03:01   for three to six years

01:03:04   So all of this is what like turned me away from what I would say was the first

01:03:11   seriously considered

01:03:13   Maybe actually possible thing that a younger version of me would have wanted to do when he grew up

01:03:21   Thomas wants to know did you ever get a VR headset?

01:03:27   Now I got a PlayStation VR headset. I really like it a lot. I know you do. There are some good games

01:03:35   There is not enough good games. I'm hoping for more good games in 2017. I have cast an eye

01:03:41   I've been

01:04:02   There is also like word of oculus trying to create their own

01:04:07   All in one unit. Mm-hmm. Same as HTC is doing the same also

01:04:12   Microsoft later this year will be showing off their next Xbox which

01:04:17   They've said will have VR capabilities

01:04:20   Microsoft have had a good partnership with oculus

01:04:23   I'm wondering if that's what they're gonna go down and then will they be able to support PC games there

01:04:28   This is a there is I expect by the end of this year that I will have some other

01:04:32   Equipment in my house because you can never have enough never enough immersion in VR. What did you buy?

01:04:38   Okay, like I have bought nothing because I think I need a new house before I can get a VR head

01:04:45   So yeah, this is the problem. This is the problem if you really want that the big the big equipment it is

01:04:53   Difficult I've used a HTC Vive. I have not spoken about this on this show. Mm-hmm

01:04:58   And I think that it's a great system

01:05:01   but some of the things that are good about it are things that I don't like about it and I

01:05:05   Like that you can move around but every now and then I'll bump into something and then that ruins the experience

01:05:11   So I trip over the cable and that ruins the experience. So it's a great system, but I don't like it so much and also

01:05:16   What everybody said that they loved with the controllers?

01:05:20   but those controllers are not as good as the Oculus Touch controllers and

01:05:24   We had used those a long time before they came out like six or seven months

01:05:30   So we were starting I think at a better level and I find the Oculus Touch controllers to be vastly superior to HTC's

01:05:36   Just in the way that they feel and the way that you use them

01:05:39   So I still maintain that my favorite system that I have used is the oculus

01:05:44   Yeah, I mean this is the problem

01:05:46   I have this feeling of like go big or go home with VR and there are some VR options

01:05:53   but I just I feel like that oculus experience was just

01:05:56   so good

01:05:58   that I feel like I either want to wait for other systems to catch up to that or I want to replicate that and

01:06:04   if I'm trying to replicate it at the very least it's like

01:06:08   you know this this flat that I'm living in London is like there is no there is no place for this and

01:06:13   and it requires a rethinking of everything in, like, our room, which is the kitchen and also the living room.

01:06:22   And it's like, where would this go? This would go nowhere.

01:06:25   So, I do keep piling up a list of reasons why my wife and I maybe should move.

01:06:33   And on that list of reasons, I would have space for new VR equipment.

01:06:39   probably the least convincing item that is on there for her, but I feel like it is very

01:06:45   convincing for me.

01:06:47   You need a mega office, man.

01:06:48   Wait a minute. I'm gonna disagree with you on that actually, because I don't think you

01:06:53   should have your VR headset in your mega office. I think you need clean, distinct, different

01:06:59   contexts for working.

01:07:01   Video games are part of my work, Gray.

01:07:04   That is a lie. You should not tell yourself that.

01:07:08   I have a video game podcast. I have one. Yeah, yeah, yeah I know Myke, but I feel like that

01:07:14   Come at me. that video game podcast exists to support this idea.

01:07:20   Mega Office serves two main roles in this home. It is one where Myke can do work and

01:07:30   two where Myke can put all of the stuff that shouldn't be in the rest of the house and

01:07:35   This just becomes my space. I have a sofa. The sofa is perfectly positioned in front of the TV. Mm-hmm

01:07:42   It's brilliant that that works for you

01:07:44   But the the whole reason that I have an office that is outside of the house is I I know I can't work like that

01:07:50   Like I need

01:07:52   The different environments to be as clean and as clear as possible

01:07:56   So no, you can keep the outside of the house office

01:08:00   But then also have the inside of the house office now, which has the VR equipment in it

01:08:05   No, that's not gonna happen Myke. It's not gonna happen. This is a life hack my friend

01:08:09   No, it isn't it's a terrible idea

01:08:12   Crc 128 wants to know if I skip a YouTube ad do you get anything for it? I don't know the answer to this

01:08:20   Oh, really? You don't know the answer you as a YouTube creator. You don't know

01:08:24   so I think the short answer to this is

01:08:29   No, if you have one of those YouTube ads where it's running down a little timer that says you know you can skip this in

01:08:34   5 4 3 2 1 if you immediately press that

01:08:37   The YouTube creator does not get a cut of the ad revenue

01:08:42   But there is a question of how quickly do you skip it? I don't know the exact boundaries

01:08:49   I think they move them around sometimes, but there is a system of partial payouts

01:08:55   Depending on how much of a skippable ad you have watched on YouTube. Right, I expect it's a percentage probably, right?

01:09:02   Yeah, whatever it is

01:09:03   It's like, you know

01:09:04   They take 50% of the ad revenue if you watch 50% of the video and then at 75% they take all there's there's something

01:09:10   In that boundary and I know that there's some lower boundary where there's like a small amount that is taken

01:09:16   but if you if you hit it on like

01:09:18   Exactly when it's up. It's count as a as an unwatched ad in the system. So you don't get any money for that

01:09:25   Okay, that's good to know. I've noticed the thing recently which I think is kind of cool.

01:09:29   I've seen a bunch of companies creating like three second ads.

01:09:33   Oh yeah, I haven't actually noticed that.

01:09:35   Yeah, I've noticed this from a few. Like either it's a company that it's just their entire

01:09:39   YouTube ad is like five seconds long. And there's nothing. There's no skipping. It's

01:09:45   just a five second ad. So it's within the realms of what people will expect. I've also

01:09:50   seen a couple of things where you'll see a company do a 5 second ad and then the 30 second

01:09:56   ad and the 5 second ad is there to try and entice you.

01:10:01   Ah I see.

01:10:03   I find that stuff really interesting like people playing with it and I've been, I watch

01:10:07   more of those ads honestly because they grab me and then I watch the thing.

01:10:12   If you are a company that makes ads, there you go, you want my ad money, that's how you

01:10:15   get it.

01:10:16   5 second ads.

01:10:18   Thomas wants to know, what is Gray's spreadsheet program of choice and why?

01:10:23   Ooh, um, I use Apple's numbers actually.

01:10:30   In theory I should be using Excel.

01:10:35   A long time ago I actually had a job that was essentially just using Excel professionally

01:10:40   in a way.

01:10:41   Excel is vastly more powerful.

01:10:44   it can do a lot more.

01:10:46   But for the spreadsheets that I use now,

01:10:50   I use Numbers because of two things.

01:10:54   The first is it does just look nicer.

01:10:57   Like it takes a lot less effort

01:10:59   to make a Numbers spreadsheet look nicer.

01:11:02   And the second thing which I really love

01:11:06   and I can't believe Excel hasn't copied in some way

01:11:10   is the way that Numbers allows you to have,

01:11:13   you don't have to be working with a single infinite grid in all directions.

01:11:18   You can just drop down a little mini grid and move it around.

01:11:23   So it's like you're working on a blank piece of paper.

01:11:26   And you can have like multiple grids all over the place and like different,

01:11:30   yeah, it's interesting.

01:11:32   Yeah. And, and that allowing you to rearrange things,

01:11:36   I find hugely helpful for the source of spreadsheets that I want to create where

01:11:41   I'll have a bunch of, like, it's not programming or anything, but it's like, I'll have a spreadsheet

01:11:46   where I want to just put in some inputs and then get the outputs displayed in some different

01:11:50   way.

01:11:51   And it's like, yeah, I could do this with Excel and you sort of fake it with hiding

01:11:56   some of the cells, but it's just much nicer and much easier and faster to get it good

01:12:00   looking if you can just drop down a little table and say, "I want it to go exactly here."

01:12:05   And then maybe I rearrange it later, go, "Oh, no, I'll put it over there.

01:12:07   It's better in this spot."

01:12:09   I just really like numbers for that and it's a feature that I use a lot.

01:12:15   Like a ton of my spreadsheets are a very large number of individual tables that I'm putting data into

01:12:23   and rearranging in a way that I could do it with Excel, but it would be more of a pain in the butt to do with Excel,

01:12:29   even if it is the more powerful tool.

01:12:32   And it definitely is a thing that I run into often-ish enough that there's something I would like to do

01:12:38   would be trivial to do in Excel which numbers just simply can't but I'm willing to take

01:12:43   that trade off for the way that it looks and the way it's easily rearrangeable.

01:12:48   Dylan wants to know, now that editorial has been updated for the iPad Pro, where are we

01:12:53   standing? Have we already moved away to applications like OneWriter or Bear? And if so would we

01:13:00   move back? So I have personally moved all of my writing of this kind to the iOS app

01:13:06   I think that it's really nice and it works very well for me for writing what I write in it which tends to just be

01:13:13   Copy for our ads I write that in bear. I am NOT going to be switching back to editorial for for my work there

01:13:21   Purely because I am concerned at the rate of advancement of the application

01:13:27   I was on the beta but it took a very very very long time for that app to come out of beta for this version

01:13:34   So I'm I'm gonna stick with bear for the time being

01:13:38   yeah editorial was my primary app for a very long time for doing the writing and

01:13:43   For the video scripts and for some other things that I write

01:13:49   I'm now using

01:13:52   Ulysses as the primary app which I don't think we've talked about very much at all

01:13:55   No

01:13:56   But Ulysses has some features that I really really like

01:14:00   It's one of those apps that it like I played around with it for a little bit

01:14:04   And it takes a while to like change your mind a little bit to take full advantage of the way that this can work

01:14:10   and I have to say like the

01:14:12   the rules for rulers videos that I did

01:14:15   those

01:14:17   relied very heavily on some of the features that Ulysses has where

01:14:22   If you're working with it the way it wants you to work you can rearrange sections quite easily

01:14:29   You can see a little like outline of what it is that you're working on the side and move sections up and down and I was

01:14:35   doing that constantly on those videos and

01:14:38   That is a kind of feature that I have a very hard time now imagining

01:14:43   Using any kind of writing app that doesn't have some ability to do this

01:14:48   To replicate information on the side and a quick ability to rearrange the sections

01:14:54   so that has become just an absolute vital feature and

01:14:59   editorial doesn't have that and

01:15:01   There's also some stuff with Ulysses because it's working in

01:15:06   Dropbox there's some fancy stuff that I don't really need to get into right now, but in the way that

01:15:11   My assistant can also have access to a subset of the things that I'm working on on

01:15:17   Ulysses on her end through Dropbox and everything like syncs in a really nice way

01:15:21   But she doesn't have to have access to everything that I'm working on like there's some nice things that I can do with this app

01:15:28   so that's why it has taken the primary place as the app that I'm working in and

01:15:32   For everything else. I'm also using bear as a kind of scratch pad or

01:15:39   List maker or just for various miscellaneous things. I have to say I'm really impressed with that app

01:15:45   I really like some of the color schemes in the way they arrange things. So those are the two apps that are my

01:15:50   primary writing apps at this point

01:15:53   Adrian would like to know how your betrayal of the MacBook adorable has been going.

01:15:59   I didn't betray anything.

01:16:02   And was the Touch Bar really worth this betrayal?

01:16:05   It bet- no, it betrayed me. It went up in a little puff of smoke.

01:16:09   I feel like this is more a question of if I betrayed you is what's really coming out.

01:16:16   Whatever it is.

01:16:17   It's really coming out in this.

01:16:18   There was a betrayal. And has it been worth it for you? Do you use that computer?

01:16:25   Yeah, I do use that computer. It is useful for exactly the purpose that I intended it,

01:16:32   which is for occasional mobile podcast recording and/or editing.

01:16:37   So was the MacBook.

01:16:38   Yeah, but you're asking me if I'm using it for these things. Like, yes, I use it for that.

01:16:43   I do have to say I really, really like the second generation butterfly keys.

01:16:50   I was always a defender of the Adorables keyboard. I think people didn't use it long enough to get used to it, and I really liked it.

01:16:57   But the second generation keyboard is way better.

01:17:00   And I really hope that Apple at some point updates their Magic keyboard to use those same switches. I think they're fantastic.

01:17:07   Don't say that out loud.

01:17:08   Why? Why?

01:17:10   Because people have lots of opinions about their keyboards and I don't think people would like to hear that.

01:17:21   Well, I'm not interested in what they would like.

01:17:24   There's two sides of Apple here which are probably warring with each other, which is the efficiencies of scale

01:17:29   versus "boy, we sure don't want to retool any of our equipment".

01:17:32   I think that's the battle that would be taking place over what is the next generation of the Magic Keyboard.

01:17:37   But I would love them to. I would love them to go with the efficiencies of scale argument on that.

01:17:42   I have to say, I really like it.

01:17:46   As for the touch bar,

01:17:52   the lack of escape button is not really any problem.

01:17:56   I find I hit that corner really easily every time I want to hit the escape button.

01:17:59   It doesn't bother me that there's not a physical button there. I was expecting that to be a problem,

01:18:04   but it isn't.

01:18:07   As for the actual touch bar,

01:18:10   I feel like I still need to be convinced by some software implementation

01:18:17   that this is a useful feature.

01:18:19   It's funny because it actually strikes me as like the reverse of a pro feature.

01:18:24   Whenever I pay attention to it, it really feels like this is actually

01:18:28   a feature for newbies where it's trying to show to you

01:18:34   and reveal to you aspects of the program that you might not be aware of.

01:18:39   And I feel like for almost anything that the touch bar is showing me,

01:18:43   there's a keyboard command that I already know that I'm going to use.

01:18:46   Or the additional information that it shows is not really helpful.

01:18:50   It's just kind of flashy and show-offy.

01:18:52   So I actually think that the touch bar is a great feature for someone new to the Mac.

01:19:00   Like, I'm not quite sure who that person would be.

01:19:02   But I don't think the way they sold it as like, "Oh, this is an amazing pro feature."

01:19:10   I haven't seen that materialized on my end.

01:19:13   So that's been my experience with the Touch Bar so far.

01:19:17   Silent sense of betrayal.

01:19:21   Carrie wants to know, "What is your opinion on the Amazon Echo?"

01:19:25   I know you love the Amazon Echo.

01:19:27   I have seen in-person demonstrations of the Amazon Echo,

01:19:31   which are very impressive about how I can hear you and the commands that everybody has it do.

01:19:38   I have some resistance to setting up a thing that is in another ecosystem

01:19:46   and I feel less convinced by the utility of it for me personally.

01:19:51   I just don't like talking to devices if I can.

01:19:57   Like when I'm controlling the lights in my house, sure I can talk to Siri to do that, but I much prefer

01:20:05   pressing a button and just doing it that way.

01:20:07   So a lot of the Amazon Echo stuff, it's like yeah, I can see that that would be useful.

01:20:13   But I always feel like I have some kind of mental resistance to

01:20:18   talking as a form of computer interface.

01:20:22   Like it's not my go-to.

01:20:24   How do you turn your lights on and off? Because you have the Hue lights, right?

01:20:28   Yeah, I have the Hue lights.

01:20:29   So what is your interface for interacting with your Hue lights?

01:20:32   So the Hue lights are connected into the Apple Home system.

01:20:38   Yep.

01:20:38   So that means on any of the iPads or on my phone, I can use the control panel to toggle the presets

01:20:45   that I have. So I haven't set a whole bunch, but there's like six buttons for the various ways that

01:20:50   I want most of the lights. Or the thing that happens really often is I have it, depending

01:20:57   on the watch face I'm using, I either have the home button on my watch face or it's always

01:21:01   in the dock of my watch. And so that's the other way that I'll adjust the lights is by

01:21:05   doing that. And I know that under this circumstance it would often be faster and easier to be

01:21:13   able to just speak out loud to the Alexa to ask it to change the lights instead. But it

01:21:18   It still doesn't get over this mental resistance that I feel to talking out loud to a computer.

01:21:26   I will always prefer the silent interface if it's an option, and I feel like voice commands

01:21:31   for me are a mental last resort.

01:21:36   Okay.

01:21:37   That's interesting.

01:21:39   Because I'm definitely the reverse for my Hue lights.

01:21:44   And it's the same for Adina as well, we just walk around the house and ask for the lights

01:21:48   to be turned on in the rooms that we're going into.

01:21:50   I mean to be fair, my wife would probably greatly appreciate if I did set up an Alexa

01:21:55   because she is obviously preferring voice interface and she tries to talk to Siri to

01:22:01   change the lights, which I can only describe as a perpetual exercise in frustration.

01:22:07   Right, see this is the thing.

01:22:09   the echo it is a surprise if it doesn't work.

01:22:15   Yeah.

01:22:16   And with Ciri I have found it to be the inverse.

01:22:20   Yeah, Ciri is terrible at this kind of stuff.

01:22:23   Maybe you should just get one.

01:22:25   But I have no use for it.

01:22:26   You know, I'd be the person setting it up.

01:22:29   It's really not hard to set up.

01:22:30   I'm really trying mostly to convince her to use the silent interface instead.

01:22:35   Just press the button.

01:22:36   It works when you press the button every time.

01:22:38   But I think this is also just a general problem with Siri.

01:22:42   Just the other day I heard this thing, which was so frustrating to listen to, but my wife

01:22:50   was in the shower and she was trying to ask Siri to record a reminder for later.

01:22:57   And it's like, Siri could hear, I could hear her go like, "Hey Siri!"

01:23:03   And then the phone would wake up and she would try to talk to it.

01:23:08   I must have heard her try to do this thing 10 times.

01:23:10   I was like, I couldn't bear to hear it anymore.

01:23:12   Like I just, I had to go in there.

01:23:13   Like, let me just type it in for you.

01:23:14   Like, I'm so sorry that you've had this experience

01:23:17   with Siri trying to listen to you.

01:23:19   I understand you're in the shower,

01:23:21   it's trying to hear you over water.

01:23:23   It's not an optimal situation.

01:23:25   But it was a thing that I was thinking like,

01:23:27   I'm pretty sure an Amazon Echo would get this no problem.

01:23:30   - It depends, it depends.

01:23:32   Like, so we have our Echo in our kitchen.

01:23:36   And if we have the extractor fan going full blast,

01:23:39   it can take a couple of tries to get it to to hear you.

01:23:44   But once it's heard the wake word, it does a pretty good job.

01:23:49   But sometimes you have to really give it a shout to get it to wake up.

01:23:53   There is a there is a problem that all of these machines have with white noise.

01:23:58   But I will say that that the Echo is the best that I have found,

01:24:04   primarily because it is a canister full of microphones.

01:24:08   - Yeah.

01:24:09   - Right, so that's why it does a better job.

01:24:10   But it can still struggle,

01:24:12   but I would say that it probably would do a better job

01:24:15   in that scenario than Siri would have, honestly.

01:24:17   - Let's just say there was definitely some shouting at Siri.

01:24:20   - Yeah, yeah, yeah.

01:24:22   - There was some shouting to be had.

01:24:26   - But you know, I will say that I have been in the office

01:24:29   and I have heard curse words said towards the echo

01:24:32   in the kitchen.

01:24:33   Like, it happens, and I do it too.

01:24:36   It happens.