154: Workplace Therapy With Grey


00:00:00   I have like three key areas of frustration right now, and I need to talk them through with you.

00:00:05   Like today, this episode of Quotex is basically going to be like workplace therapy for me.

00:00:09   I was just about to say, it feels like you're setting me up to be like your therapist for this episode.

00:00:14   Is that what you want to do, Mike?

00:00:15   Yes, I need that.

00:00:17   I'm here for you. Let's do that.

00:00:18   So you're sitting on the couch, I've got my clipboard. How are you feeling?

00:00:24   I'm considering turning off notifications for email.

00:00:26   Oh my god. Okay. Wow.

00:00:28   Yeah, this is a pretty big deal for me.

00:00:30   Before we dive in, I feel like what I would like is, can you give me the brief version of how have we gotten here?

00:00:37   Because I just feel like you've just dumped out onto a desk.

00:00:41   I've got these email apps and like a bunch of problems that I'm getting all these messages.

00:00:44   I feel like how have we arrived where we are right now for the sake of clarity?

00:00:49   Okay, so I've always been a notifications person.

00:00:53   I like getting notifications and when I started my first business, Relay FM, I was responsible for sales.

00:01:02   And especially when you're starting out a business like that and you're trying to build a client base,

00:01:06   being as responsive as possible is very helpful.

00:01:10   For sure.

00:01:10   So having email notifications would mean that I was going to get back to people in a timely manner

00:01:16   and I would be able to handle it that way.

00:01:18   This was many years that I did this job and over this time I built habits, especially around triage.

00:01:23   Like I was able to use my notifications as triage.

00:01:26   So, you know, I get a bunch of email, I could look at notifications, I could archive them from notifications.

00:01:31   They'd never even be in my inbox when I opened my email app.

00:01:33   I would also know when the important stuff came in and I could jump to it quickly.

00:01:39   And then over time things changed.

00:01:40   So one of them was I turned notifications for email off on my Apple Watch.

00:01:45   So it was just on my iPhone and then also my role at Relay changed.

00:01:49   And now I don't do sales anymore really.

00:01:51   I have a couple of clients but I deal with them once every three to 12 months.

00:01:58   The clients that I still handle, so there really isn't anything pressing with that anymore.

00:02:03   And I'm getting less and less of this email coming.

00:02:06   I'm still CC'd and more stuff than I would like, which feels like something that no matter how much we try,

00:02:11   we can't seem to get rid of.

00:02:13   But that's fine, right?

00:02:15   Because I don't need to see those emails so often.

00:02:17   And this is making me realize the notifications for email that I'm getting,

00:02:24   they have the ability to change what I'm thinking about at any moment.

00:02:29   Where I could be doing something or enjoying a moment of some description,

00:02:34   you know, like we're watching TV, I'm hanging out, I'm playing games,

00:02:39   and then I get an email which frustrates me.

00:02:42   But I don't need that at that point.

00:02:45   I can come to it later on.

00:02:47   This is more like how I managed email in my old job,

00:02:52   which I probably feel like is not the way people do email anymore.

00:02:56   I feel like one of the things that would have changed over the last 10 years

00:03:00   is that people are actually just receiving this email to their phone

00:03:04   because they have a work phone or they're signed into an email app for work on their personal phone.

00:03:10   And so people probably are getting more notifications like I am,

00:03:14   which is like a very upsetting thought where I would just only see my email

00:03:18   when I logged into my computer when I was at my desk at the office.

00:03:22   Yeah, it's interesting you bring this up now because I've had a bunch of email thoughts

00:03:25   and I'm going to be making some changes as well.

00:03:28   But like, I think what you're describing here is your role has changed over 10 years.

00:03:35   And also the nature of email has changed over 10 years.

00:03:39   So I've been taking notes over here and the very first thing that I wanted to know is like,

00:03:44   where are you most productive at dealing with email?

00:03:50   Because you are still living the sales mic life in regards to email

00:03:57   when your actual life is executive mic and also product designer mic.

00:04:04   And the sales email life is just no good and completely incompatible

00:04:12   with functioning well in those other two roles.

00:04:16   In any of my creative roles.

00:04:17   Yeah, I feel like what you're dealing with is a little bit of like what my frustrations are

00:04:23   always with my own work is like, creative work is just different.

00:04:27   And I, as someone who works with you on Cortex Brad,

00:04:31   extremely alarmed to imagine the scenario where you are sitting down

00:04:36   and you're working on a design for a future product.

00:04:39   And you're in like a good mental space while you're working on that.

00:04:43   And then some random thing from the outside world comes in and messes with that.

00:04:50   Like that's very costly to the company in a real way.

00:04:53   And so question one is like, where are you most productive on email?

00:04:58   Like, where are you best equipped to handle email?

00:05:01   And I just cannot imagine that this is your phone at all.

00:05:06   Like this can't possibly be the current place.

00:05:09   Oh, I don't know though.

00:05:11   All right, so here's the thing is there's still going to be a lot of triage.

00:05:15   In fact, there'll be more triage than ever now.

00:05:17   Like if I'm turning off notifications, every time I open my inbox,

00:05:21   my inbox is going to be more full than it's been in 20 years.

00:05:25   Right, yeah.

00:05:26   Because I wouldn't have been like getting rid of stuff like that.

00:05:29   And so I do feel like my iPhone is still going to be a really good email machine

00:05:34   for me for dealing with 50% of the job,

00:05:38   which is either removing or assigning email to other people.

00:05:43   But if I'm going to sit down and like actually deal with something,

00:05:46   it's probably going to be at my Mac.

00:05:48   But I do still feel like both of those tools are important for the things that they are best at.

00:05:53   And like for me, swiping, done, done, done, done,

00:05:57   because remember we don't archive in Spark.

00:05:59   We done an email.

00:06:00   So if I swipe done, done, done, like I want to still be able to do that.

00:06:03   That's still like an important tool for me as well.

00:06:07   Like just because of still the nature of my work,

00:06:10   I want to be able to fire quick things off every now and again.

00:06:13   And so my iPhone is still really good at that.

00:06:16   But I think I just don't want it to be grabbing me anymore.

00:06:20   I think you should ask yourself the question of what is the real material value

00:06:25   of like sending off something real quick from that device?

00:06:29   Or what is the real material value of having done triage

00:06:34   before you're sitting down to deal with your email?

00:06:36   Are you suggesting I do not have an email app on my iPhone?

00:06:40   I want to have a discussion about the idea

00:06:43   and what it is that you're trying to achieve.

00:06:45   Because what I'm trying to get around to here is like,

00:06:48   your role is just real different.

00:06:50   And like we've had many, many discussions about the wheel of email,

00:06:55   which is like, I actually think of it as like a rack, right,

00:06:58   upon which people are tortured, right?

00:06:59   Like that is how I feel about email.

00:07:01   Well, whenever I have to imagine the wheel of email,

00:07:03   I've always imagined like the wheel that someone gets someone and the knives are thrown.

00:07:07   Yeah.

00:07:08   That's how it's always been to me.

00:07:10   Like you're just on and the emails are being thrown at you.

00:07:13   And sometimes they're getting you and sometimes they're not.

00:07:15   OK, but so what I'm trying to get at is like,

00:07:17   we've had many conversations over the years about this.

00:07:20   And it is a thing that like I have observed you work with email for years.

00:07:25   And I have always come around like when you tell me

00:07:31   how you have been dealing with this in the past.

00:07:33   It's like, oh, no, you have a good system for what you need to do.

00:07:37   It's not what I would ever do.

00:07:38   But I think like, oh, no, Mike's been right to do this.

00:07:41   Like the way Mike triages things, like the quick response, all of that.

00:07:44   Like I think it has always been great.

00:07:46   But I am convinced that you are feeling a frustration here because you still want to use this thing

00:07:53   which has served you well in a way that I just do not think is compatible with your actual roles now.

00:08:02   And so when you want to do the thing of like, oh, I just want to quickly respond to a message.

00:08:08   I have the same problem where it's like I can be the hold up for something.

00:08:11   And if I was just to give a quick like thumbs up or thumbs down to something like I unblock another person

00:08:16   and let them move forward on a thing.

00:08:19   And that is valuable.

00:08:21   But it is quite easy to overvalue how much it really, really matters in the moment to unblock that person

00:08:30   versus just them waiting a little longer compared to whatever it is that you're doing.

00:08:38   Okay, these three topics in a way I feel like there's a meta thing which I want to just like discuss here,

00:08:44   which is something like the opportunity cost of your time.

00:08:47   These problems, just as you quickly outlined them to me, feel like they are all related to that idea.

00:08:54   I've always said to people like, especially if you are like, you're trying to work on your own and you want to be a freelancer.

00:09:01   But even if you are working a more traditional career path, like you're a salaried employee and there's a promotion ladder,

00:09:07   a thing that you should keep in mind when you're working on your career is that over time, the value of your time per hour should go up.

00:09:18   That's like a measure of success in the sense of like, oh, you're achieving what you're setting out to achieve.

00:09:25   You're more valuable in your career and that is represented by like the dollars earned per hour.

00:09:29   Or if you're salaried, the reverse is true of like what you're trying to do is be able to do the same amount of stuff,

00:09:36   but in less time, right, which is what I was always really focused on as a teacher.

00:09:41   And so you, Mike, have been successful at like push that number up, like the hourly number up over the past many years.

00:09:51   But what I see in people is that this does start to cause like a bunch of weird frustrations and problems

00:09:58   that are all related to the idea of just like this opportunity cost of your time.

00:10:03   Like as your time gets more valuable, it kind of causes frustrations and problems.

00:10:08   And so I want you to keep that in your mind because your actual goal is something like,

00:10:16   what is the least number of minutes that could be spent on email in an effective way?

00:10:24   And every time you quickly send off a message or like you quickly archive something,

00:10:32   there's some kind of like, I don't know what a good metric would be,

00:10:35   but there's some kind of like sticky brain time that should be added to each of those things.

00:10:40   Like no matter how fast you actually archived an email that you saw on your phone,

00:10:45   like in the math of what your time is worth, you should add like an extra minute to that.

00:10:49   Like every time you touch an email, even if it's just for two seconds on your phone,

00:10:53   you actually have to add a minute.

00:10:56   So that's what I'm trying to think of here is sure, if you're archiving messages on your phone,

00:11:03   as you have for years, when you sit down to quote like really do email,

00:11:09   there's less to deal with then.

00:11:10   And so it feels like you've gained something, but I really think you've lost something.

00:11:16   I think you've lost more than you were realizing because you can just archive all of those messages

00:11:24   as you're sitting down to like boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, just go through things.

00:11:27   And you can fire off your quick responses then.

00:11:29   I think like dealing with anything in the moment for you has like slowly creeped up in cost

00:11:39   over the years in a way that you just didn't realize as it was happening.

00:11:43   And that has now caused a bunch of frustrations for you.

00:11:46   That's kind of what I feel like might be one of the underlying things that's happening here.

00:11:52   I'm not sure if that's an encouraging or a discouraging sound.

00:11:54   No, I mean, like I agree with what you're saying, right?

00:11:58   Every time I look at my email inbox, I'm going back into the same thing where it's like, all right,

00:12:06   why don't I want notifications anymore?

00:12:09   Because I want to stop certain things from being able to control my attention

00:12:15   at any moment's notice.

00:12:17   And a different level of that is I open my inbox and who knows what's in there

00:12:22   and that might like throw me off.

00:12:24   But I do feel like those are distinct.

00:12:27   Yeah, they are distinct for sure.

00:12:29   I would love to feel confident that I could delete the email app from my iPhone.

00:12:35   I'm not confident right now that that is the most responsible thing to do.

00:12:41   What are your concerns around that?

00:12:43   Because I don't know what that life is.

00:12:45   One of the things that concerns me about turning off notifications

00:12:48   is that I end up checking my inbox more, right?

00:12:52   So this is like one thing that I'm concerned about.

00:12:54   That if I'm not pulled in to check email, that maybe I open my email app more

00:13:00   because I don't know what's in there.

00:13:01   It's like Pandora's email, you know?

00:13:02   And so if that was to happen, my concern would be, if we continue that line of thinking,

00:13:08   I grab my Mac at home more than I did before.

00:13:14   And that is a whole new world of like throwing me off kilter.

00:13:18   So if I've grabbed my Mac, then that's never going to be a quick thing.

00:13:22   There's always big stuff happening there.

00:13:24   You know what I mean?

00:13:25   It's like that's when I'm worried about that two-step thing.

00:13:28   I love the idea of just like no email on my iPhone.

00:13:32   Like what an incredible thought that is.

00:13:34   I don't know if I'm ready to make that step yet.

00:13:37   Like in the same way that I've had notifications on forever and that worked for me,

00:13:42   even though I don't recommend it for others,

00:13:44   I'm not sure that I could take those two steps at once.

00:13:49   And I don't know if I feel comfortable with it.

00:13:52   - I think one of the other things that's been on the back of my mind is,

00:13:56   I don't quite know how to articulate this,

00:13:58   but I'm sure you must have the same thing that I do like 100 times worse,

00:14:02   which is the variance of my email has gone way up in the sense of like,

00:14:09   "Oh, over the years the sheer number of messages has just done nothing but increase."

00:14:13   But also the difference in value between the most valuable email

00:14:20   that arrives any particular day and the least valuable email

00:14:23   that arrives at any particular day is like a million times more.

00:14:27   I was thinking about something the other day.

00:14:28   It kind of makes me think it's like the same phenomenon that's happened with physical mail,

00:14:32   just I think because of the way people use it differently.

00:14:35   It's like, "Oh, the average physical mail message is basically net negative in value to me."

00:14:43   But then randomly there are wildly important physical mail messages that come in.

00:14:49   And email is kind of in the same way.

00:14:51   The variance has just gone way, way up.

00:14:54   So I understand there is a real feeling and I have it too,

00:14:59   like, "Boy, if I miss something important, it's way bad."

00:15:03   But I just feel like I want to try to argue that that is more of a reason

00:15:09   why you should kind of have your head in the game of like,

00:15:14   what you're doing now is answering emails.

00:15:18   And if you are not ready to completely have your head in the game of like,

00:15:22   "I am answering emails now," then you shouldn't be dealing with it at all

00:15:26   because you have lots of other extremely high value tasks

00:15:32   that you could be working on.

00:15:34   And so I just feel like the checking activity or like the archiving activity is no good.

00:15:41   And it's just you doing to yourself what you're trying to have happen automatically

00:15:46   with like notifications of you're just doing to yourself like,

00:15:50   "Oh, I want to just like check on a thing."

00:15:51   But I'm worried that if I, let's say I delete my email from my iPhone

00:15:57   and I only do my email, say, at my Mac,

00:16:00   that is more time at my Mac than it would have been otherwise,

00:16:05   like dealing with the email.

00:16:06   - It will be.

00:16:06   - I don't know how much more time I have in my workday,

00:16:09   which is the thing we're going to get to later on.

00:16:11   And so for right now, I can deal with a bunch of email on the train, right?

00:16:16   I can commute in and I can get rid of a bunch of stuff.

00:16:18   I can just like noodle around in my email app and get rid of things.

00:16:23   And then that saves me time then when I get to the office

00:16:27   and I can sit down and do what other stuff I need to do.

00:16:31   If I'm only doing that work on my Mac,

00:16:34   then I'm going to be increasing the amount of work that I need to do on my Mac.

00:16:39   And I don't know if I have that time, but maybe it's not that much time.

00:16:44   - Okay, yeah.

00:16:45   So I think you bring up an interesting scenario here,

00:16:49   which is the I am commuting on a train scenario, right?

00:16:52   Which is like, "Oh, it's a very particular use case.

00:16:54   You don't want to be bringing your laptop."

00:16:56   - It's not a long enough commute for a laptop.

00:16:58   - Yeah, it's like you've got your phone with you, whatever.

00:17:01   So I'm going to posit that there is a hidden cost here that you are not considering,

00:17:05   which is still your mental state at the start of the day on your way into work,

00:17:13   which is highly valuable.

00:17:15   I think that really matters.

00:17:18   - Yeah, but if I get to the office and then I'm starting with the email,

00:17:22   it's the same thing.

00:17:23   I'm just like delaying it by 20 minutes.

00:17:26   Because I'm always going to start with the email, I feel like.

00:17:28   It's still going to dictate certain things that are going to happen in my day or my week.

00:17:32   It will be one of the first tasks that I would do each day.

00:17:35   - Should it be?

00:17:36   - I don't know yet.

00:17:38   Here's the thing.

00:17:39   We're going at the moment many levels down a hypothetical, right?

00:17:42   Like for me, I came onto a show, be like, "Should I just turn off my notifications?"

00:17:47   And now it's like, "Delete your email, then."

00:17:48   - No, listen.

00:17:49   But yeah, but Mike, it's like, I want to drill down to the bottom of this, right?

00:17:53   I want to get like, what's the real problem?

00:17:56   Like what's going on?

00:17:57   - No, I do feel like it would need to be one of the first things I do each day.

00:18:01   Because I do genuinely believe that I still, because I work with the amount of people that I do

00:18:06   and they need things from me, that I am making their lives harder

00:18:10   if there's something that they need that I haven't gotten them yet.

00:18:15   What I don't want is to like increase the amount of messages I'm getting from people saying like,

00:18:22   "Did you get that thing? Where's that thing? Can you check that thing?"

00:18:25   Because I've not been looking at my email.

00:18:27   And so in this scenario, yeah, let's imagine I take it off my iPhone.

00:18:32   I still think checking email is one of the first things I would do each workday.

00:18:37   - Yeah.

00:18:39   - I actually think for me, that is fine.

00:18:42   That thought doesn't bother me at all because I'm in work mode.

00:18:46   Like things are going to be happening.

00:18:47   I've got the next task.

00:18:48   Like even if something annoys me, I'm still going to get to the next task.

00:18:52   Like I'm in work mode now.

00:18:53   Like there's things going on.

00:18:54   I have my day planned.

00:18:56   Like it's going to happen without.

00:18:58   And to me, checking the email would still be like, "Yep, that's like boot up task

00:19:04   that is setting me up for the workday.

00:19:06   I'm getting into work mode."

00:19:07   - I feel like the more you talk, just the less I'm convinced.

00:19:10   - But you've got to remember though that like go back to the idea of like,

00:19:14   "Why did you agree that I should have had notifications on?"

00:19:18   We do still work differently.

00:19:20   We still do have different responsibilities.

00:19:22   - Yeah, you need email like a million times more than I do.

00:19:24   100%.

00:19:25   Like we still have things that are very different.

00:19:26   I just genuinely think that you are sort of struggling with,

00:19:30   "Your role has become more like mine over the years."

00:19:34   And that's part of what's happening here.

00:19:36   - No!

00:19:36   - Exactly.

00:19:38   Like I think that's what it is.

00:19:40   Now there's no version of this in which I'm like,

00:19:42   "Hey, Mike, you should have a morning like mine."

00:19:44   No, like I don't think so.

00:19:45   But what I am thinking is just, here is my fundamental problem with email as the first thing.

00:19:52   It is deciding that your day is other directed.

00:19:59   It is directed externally right from the start.

00:20:02   And I just think that your role is different enough now that that is not a good idea.

00:20:09   Now in my head, what I'm kind of thinking of is,

00:20:12   I would love for email to be like the second thing that you do in the day.

00:20:17   I'm not remotely saying like, "Oh, you shouldn't check email until it's 4 p.m.

00:20:20   "Just like wrap up some stuff."

00:20:22   No.

00:20:22   But I think there is an absolute world of difference that you are not appreciating

00:20:29   between doing email as the first thing and email as the second thing.

00:20:33   I don't think that's a small difference.

00:20:35   I think that's the biggest difference that there can be.

00:20:38   - Can you give me an example of first things?

00:20:40   - My thought for first tasks for you.

00:20:43   Here's like my dream scenario of like a thing that could be appreciated is like,

00:20:48   you are on the train and you're not looking at your phone and you're like heading into work.

00:20:55   And what naturally happens is like, you just sort of start thinking about like,

00:21:00   "Oh, what are things I need to do?" or whatever.

00:21:02   And on the train, you can have an idea about something with like

00:21:08   a design for one of the Cortex brand products.

00:21:11   Like a thing just pops into your head.

00:21:12   This is like the space for boredom.

00:21:13   Like just a little bit of thinking space that I think is really good and like

00:21:18   incredibly undervalued at the start of a day.

00:21:21   And so you would get into your office and maybe just like toy around with something

00:21:29   that you thought on the train for like an hour.

00:21:32   And then as like the moment as often happens, you feel like,

00:21:35   "Okay, I'm kind of like done with this."

00:21:37   Then you go to email, right?

00:21:39   That's like my dream scenario for you.

00:21:42   - That's my dream, man.

00:21:43   Let me tell you right now, like, yes, I agree.

00:21:46   Like I love all the thought of like, "Oh, it's Monday morning."

00:21:49   And the first thing I'm doing is the most important thing I do on a Monday,

00:21:52   getting upgrade ready.

00:21:54   - Right.

00:21:55   So the reason it's my dream scenario is it's the scenario that benefits me the most, right?

00:21:58   But down from my dream scenario, scenario two is exactly that.

00:22:07   I again think there is a world of difference in you're on the train, it's Monday morning,

00:22:14   it's like upgrade game time, and you are thinking a little bit about the upcoming show,

00:22:19   like on the way into work.

00:22:21   And then the first thing that you do when you get there is you start arranging all of the stuff

00:22:26   that you want to do for upgrade.

00:22:27   You start like processing, you know, like all of the articles,

00:22:31   putting together show notes, like doing all of your preparations.

00:22:34   And then when you are done with that, then you go to email and you work on your email then.

00:22:40   I think you are not appreciating how huge of a deal this really is.

00:22:46   You're like sacrificing true value on an altar of pseudo-productivity.

00:22:53   That is what's occurring when you're triaging your email on your phone on the way into work.

00:22:58   - Let's put that one on a t-shirt, you know what I mean?

00:23:01   - Woo, look, it's also my dream.

00:23:04   - Very achievable dream.

00:23:05   - No, but dreams are scary sometimes, right?

00:23:08   And like, I never want to let anyone down.

00:23:10   - I completely understand that, yeah.

00:23:12   - I feel like you know that about me, like it's something that I really try and take value in,

00:23:18   in making sure that the people that I work with have what they need.

00:23:21   I never want to be an imposition to someone, right?

00:23:24   Like I don't want to be the reason that they're waiting on something or whatever.

00:23:29   But I also have the time zone advantage.

00:23:32   - I was gonna say, Mike, like please,

00:23:34   we live in the greatest city on Earth in the greatest time zone on Earth.

00:23:38   - Yeah, we do, baby.

00:23:39   - It is a huge advantage, right?

00:23:42   But it really is.

00:23:44   I am so glad for this all the time because it makes this much easier.

00:23:50   Everyone I work with is in like earlier time zones than me,

00:23:52   so like I am up first and that makes such a huge difference.

00:23:58   And that's what you have as well.

00:24:00   Now, you're a much more international audience than I am, right?

00:24:03   For the people that you work with.

00:24:04   But still, the bulk of it is the same thing.

00:24:08   Like most people you're working with are in America.

00:24:10   So let's just imagine we're blocking off like the first two hours of the day,

00:24:17   by which I mean like the moment you leave your front door, that's when the timer starts.

00:24:22   We're including your commute in like first two hours.

00:24:26   That two hour time difference, I think there is basically nothing that can happen

00:24:32   within that two hour delay where that time matters.

00:24:38   That is more valuable than you actually doing the thing that matters most

00:24:44   to whatever is the most important thing you're going to do in the day.

00:24:47   That's why I was trying to talk about like the opportunity cost of your time here.

00:24:51   You have to really think about how much your time is worth.

00:24:57   And so this is why it's like, what can possibly happen in that first two hour window

00:25:03   where it matters and how much is that going to cost versus, I mean, as happens to you sometimes,

00:25:11   you're just walking along and you think of the sidekick notepad and it's like,

00:25:16   that is the next two years of our business and hugely important.

00:25:20   Like this super matters and like nothing that can happen in email during that time

00:25:25   can possibly outweigh that now.

00:25:27   That didn't used to be true for you.

00:25:30   It used to be true that like getting into that email and replying and archiving

00:25:34   like was the most important thing.

00:25:37   It really mattered, but you are not that guy anymore.

00:25:41   And like waiting two hours is not a problem.

00:25:44   Yeah, like I was saying in the help me help you scenario,

00:25:49   we for Cortex brand do work with people in the UK and Europe, but yeah,

00:25:53   the majority of stuff that we're doing when it comes to manufacture,

00:25:58   an extra two hours usually isn't a difference because nothing ever happens on the same day.

00:26:03   Everything that we're doing at Cortex brand is on the scale of months, right?

00:26:06   Like two hours never matters.

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00:28:29   Let me actually now, we're going to come back to email.

00:28:33   - Okay.

00:28:33   - But because you mentioned the time zone thing, I want to jump to notifications.

00:28:37   - Well, I mean, it does feel like this is all one big ball, but yes, let's go to notifications.

00:28:41   - These two are quite linked in this way because the time zone benefit in the morning is great.

00:28:47   It's also biting me in the evening because everybody else's days are shifted that I'm

00:28:55   working with in America, which means that they're still very much in their work day when I'm very

00:28:59   much not. And this is like a second thing where I am starting to become more frustrated with

00:29:06   things that are required of me in the evening or just work things that are coming my way

00:29:13   via notifications in the evening, which most of the time I will say could wait, right?

00:29:18   And that's what I want to try and work on. Like, how do I tune my notifications better

00:29:26   to see less of this stuff? Like I'm becoming much more particular about my work-life balance,

00:29:34   all thanks to the year of the weekend where I actually started to value my work-life balance.

00:29:38   And so now, like, I believe that it is better for me to have less stuff intruding, but I feel like

00:29:46   I don't have a sense of what the exact things that I should do should be. The one that I can think of

00:29:52   is to set a do not disturb in Slack. I think the way it works in Slack is it doesn't send

00:30:01   notifications at all. I don't use that, but that's my understanding. If you set do not disturb in

00:30:06   Slack, the app is sending no notifications. I don't know what happens when you come out. I

00:30:11   presume it just sends you everything that was waiting. But I don't think it does do that,

00:30:14   actually. I think it's just like when the do not disturb is off, you'll start getting notifications

00:30:17   again. But when you open the app, everything that was sent to you while you're in do not disturb is

00:30:21   just waiting for you there. And what I do like about Slack in this regard is, well, one, it's

00:30:27   doing that, so it's not sending anything, but also someone can break through, which is helpful for me.

00:30:31   That would make me feel better knowing that, like, if there's something I need to know,

00:30:36   whoever it is can see I have do not disturb on and they can be like notify me. I like that feature.

00:30:42   So I think I'm going to do that. I need to choose what the time is, which is a weird one for me.

00:30:47   >> Why is that a weird one? Like that -- >> Well, about two or three at least days

00:30:53   a week. I'm still working at 8 p.m. where naturally it would be like, oh, like, 5, 6 o'clock

00:30:59   is what most people would set. Like maybe it's 7 or 8 for me. And like you would say, like,

00:31:05   oh, focus modes will handle this for you. And like maybe -- but what I don't like about focus modes

00:31:10   is a thing that we spoke about before, which is you can still see the notifications.

00:31:14   >> Yeah, so you're running into the same frustration that I have.

00:31:17   >> Because I have a weekend one that I like the weekend focus mode that I have. But then sometimes

00:31:22   I see that I still have the email. I still see the email. It's like, oh, I don't want to know it's

00:31:27   there. >> There's like a weird perverse satisfaction I have here of like most people just don't

00:31:32   understand what the problem is. But now I feel like I've almost infected a friend with like now

00:31:37   you understand what the problem is. Like I just don't want to even know that it's there.

00:31:41   >> Yeah, like just tell me later on. Like I don't want -- like so in case people don't know,

00:31:45   in a focus mode if you exclude apps from it, they don't show up on the lock screen. But when

00:31:51   you go into notifications, enter it like collects them all up. But the problem is not only does it

00:31:56   collect them up, it gives you a little bit of a preview too. It's like, no, this is not what I

00:32:00   want. Why are you doing this? >> Yeah, so this is something that,

00:32:05   it's sort of a fundamentally unsolvable problem with like the way you want notifications to be

00:32:09   handled. Because really like what's happening with notifications is you really want to tell your

00:32:14   phone like read my mind and just know when I want to know something and know when I don't want to

00:32:20   know something. So as someone who has spent many years and many, many hours trying to tweak this

00:32:26   to be perfection, like it just never can be. And one thing that I've been trying to do that I

00:32:32   think is helpful is realizing that notification center is basically never the tool that I want

00:32:41   for the job and trying to frame things a little bit differently. So one thing I've been trying

00:32:47   to make more and more use of is I forget exactly what it's called, but iOS has the feature that's

00:32:52   called like scheduled delivery, where it holds up the messages and then delivers them all at once

00:32:59   at a time of your choosing. So that's something that I'm trying to think about for more and more

00:33:04   apps is like, can I just tell everything to arrive in one scheduled delivery at like 2 p.m. every day

00:33:12   and just like you collect up all the notifications and I will see them then. And that does keep them

00:33:17   out of notification center, like they don't go into notification center. Or the other alternative is

00:33:23   basically I'm trying to turn off notification center for everything that I can think of now.

00:33:28   The other option is like, look, notification center didn't used to exist. We used to just have badges

00:33:34   on the apps. And like, actually, that's like the solution that I want most of the time. Because the

00:33:39   nice thing about focus modes is focus modes can hide badges so that you don't see that like, oh,

00:33:45   you've got three messages in email that's important to you. But in the correct focus mode,

00:33:50   it's like, oh, no, badges are allowed. And now you can see that there's messages there.

00:33:54   So there's two things to think about. But it's like, I think I've realized my frustration has

00:33:59   come from a thing where it's like, oh, Apple created this tool called notification center.

00:34:04   And I've always just used it because it's on by default without ever really thinking through,

00:34:11   if I was designing the phone from scratch, would I want this as a feature? And the answer is no,

00:34:16   like it's very hard for me to even imagine why I would want this here really. It's like the thing

00:34:22   that I'm trying to achieve, depending on an app can usually be achieved through some combination

00:34:27   of like, it's the badge, it's the scheduled delivery, or it is the like lock screen slash

00:34:33   home screen notification with or without preview, like tweaking those things is usually what I'm

00:34:39   looking for. So we've scheduled delivery. Talk me through what scheduled delivery looks like for you.

00:34:45   Because this feature I always found kind of weird and strange. It's like, what are you having it do?

00:34:50   And what does it look like when it happens? The scheduled delivery is this thing that will appear

00:34:57   in notification center, you can think of it as a subset of notification center. So if you in

00:35:02   settings tell an app that it is to use scheduled delivery, I think basically what's happening is

00:35:09   that as far as the app is concerned, it's still sending you notifications. But iOS just completely

00:35:16   hides the existence of those notifications in totality. Like they just they are not in the

00:35:21   system at all. iOS is just holding on to those notifications, and gives them to you all at once

00:35:29   at the time of your choosing. And so what you get is a thing that will be called like, oh,

00:35:33   your afternoon summary or your morning summary, which is basically a notification center inside

00:35:41   notification center of everything that has happened since the last scheduled delivery.

00:35:47   That's how that works. So basically, you're able to say like, app x can only reach me at

00:35:55   a time of my choosing, and otherwise I am to never hear from it. And you can have multiple time slots

00:36:02   for these scheduled deliveries. So you can say like, oh, four times a day, this app can get in

00:36:07   touch. But otherwise, I never want to hear from it. That's how scheduled delivery works.

00:36:11   But then when you get it, say you have like a bunch of notifications coming at once,

00:36:17   is it clear? Because I remember seeing screenshots of it. And it seemed like,

00:36:20   almost like they were trying to lay out a magazine or something, the layout I found really

00:36:25   peculiar. Yeah, it just looks like notification center. So I actually I have my slack on this

00:36:30   of like, just once a day, send me everything like slack, just be quiet. And it appears in my

00:36:35   scheduled delivery. And it just looks like, oh, here's all the messages that went to you from

00:36:40   slack in the previous 24 hours. That's what happens. Just like the regular notifications,

00:36:46   you can click on any one of them. And it will just take you straight to that conversation in slack.

00:36:50   And you can clear them individually, just like you would a notification center. I don't know if this

00:36:54   is what you want. But I am flagging it as I think this is an underappreciated tool that can be the

00:37:01   right answer for certain things. I'm intrigued by it. But I do think that just if we remove email

00:37:09   notifications completely one way or another, and I put the slack do not disturb, I think it would

00:37:15   actually just solve the vast majority of the things that I would want. Yeah, I mean, slack

00:37:21   do not disturb sounds like for you the clear thing to do like that communication tool itself has an

00:37:26   inbuilt tool to like try to address what you're dealing with here. Yeah. And what I might do too,

00:37:31   is like I have a weekend focus mode, I may just extend that to my home focus mode or something

00:37:37   like that. I'm going to look into that too. It's just for me, I'm not sure I need that much control

00:37:44   over the other notifications that I get because I don't think again, I will pay attention to it,

00:37:50   but I'm not sure that I have other work stuff and that's what I'm trying to get rid of. Like,

00:37:54   it doesn't bother me if the fitness app is telling me something or it doesn't bother me if my to do

00:38:02   app is telling me something because if I've set that, well, is the reason I set it for that time,

00:38:07   you know what I mean? Like for me. Yeah. For me, the to do app is the only app that I think is

00:38:11   approved in every single focus mode because that is like a very different kind of exception of like,

00:38:16   I have told me that I want to be alerted to a thing at a certain time. Like for me,

00:38:21   reminders and OmniFocus have like a total access at all times in all focus modes to set up an alert.

00:38:28   Like if I look at the other stuff I've got, like if it's iMessage or that's still on that to come

00:38:33   through because again, like I put a bunch of iMessage threads on mute anyway, like the chatty

00:38:38   ones. So I'm fine with that. So I actually think I do a decent job of, it really seems like the

00:38:43   stuff that I want to get rid of is the work stuff and I think I may have that handled. But yeah,

00:38:49   I just wanted to talk to you because I think that Slack do not disturb feature is kind of what I'm

00:38:54   looking for, I think. Because I do think like, I don't want to put the onus on the people that

00:39:00   I work with, right? Like if they're in their workday, they shouldn't not send me stuff.

00:39:05   Right. But what I want everyone to understand and I think they'll get that just from seeing

00:39:10   the stuff is like, I've chosen not to be working right now. So like, I'll get back to you and I'm

00:39:15   back in work mode. And I feel like that is the thing that everyone can respect.

00:39:20   Yeah. I mean, Mike, in my role as a therapist, which is so good at, by the way,

00:39:25   what healthy relationships need are healthy boundaries. And without boundaries, it's no good.

00:39:32   And so, yeah, you too, Mike, get to have a time where you say like, I'm not working today. And

00:39:39   yes, like I understand the time zone thing of like, people are messaging you later in the day.

00:39:43   Like I have the exact same thing of like, when I am feeling like it is bedtime is often like,

00:39:49   right in the productive swing of people in America. But that's fine. Because again, it is the

00:39:55   sure, I could theoretically unblock some stuff right now as someone is working. But it is just

00:40:04   fundamentally not as important as having mental space, which is the no, I'm at home watching a

00:40:12   movie with my wife mental space. And the time delay is fine. Like everyone has this, this

00:40:22   feeling like someone has messaged me and I need to get back to them right now. But also, other people

00:40:28   have other things to do. Like, it's easy to overvalue how absolutely vital it is for you to

00:40:34   get back to this person now. So yeah, like, you should just have a clear cutoff in your mind for

00:40:41   at what time in the evening is it no longer acceptable to get work notifications. And

00:40:48   just set that and people will quickly adapt and learn like, I mean, this is the thing like,

00:40:53   when you were going to school, and I was sending you messages and getting no replies, because

00:40:58   you couldn't even get those messages that I was appalled on day one. Very quickly, even I too

00:41:04   adapted to like, Oh, Mike will get stuff back to me later. Or like, I think even in me over a very

00:41:10   short period of time, it caused a slight behavior change of even sending you less stuff. So I think

00:41:16   it's good for you to have clear boundaries of like, Oh, no, after eight or 9pm, or whatever it

00:41:23   is, Mike is just not around. And as long as you're consistent about it, as long as it's a pattern

00:41:29   that either people can pick up on, or you can just be very explicit about, I don't think there's any

00:41:35   problem there. This episode of Cortex is brought to you by Tailscale. Tailscale is a programmable

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00:42:52   and Relay FM.

00:42:54   All right, I would like to review my action items so far.

00:42:57   Okay.

00:42:58   These are the things that I'm going to do. Slack do not disturb on the relay slack and the

00:43:04   Cortex slack. And maybe I'm going to do like 7 p.m. to start with, I think.

00:43:10   Ooh, bold.

00:43:11   Look into scheduled delivery. Although I don't think I need it, but I want to play around with

00:43:15   it because I haven't played around with it because when it was first announced, like,

00:43:18   I don't need that. But maybe now I do.

00:43:19   Yeah, just check it out just to be aware of it as a tool.

00:43:22   I'm going to put all of my email accounts into Spark. I'm going to turn off notifications

00:43:29   for the Gmail app, but not delete the Gmail app because people want to log in sometimes

00:43:36   and it's just like a whole thing.

00:43:38   Okay.

00:43:38   And I'm going to delete Spark from my iPhone.

00:43:41   Wow. Okay.

00:43:42   I'm going to try it.

00:43:43   Great. Great.

00:43:45   And I'm going to turn off email notifications on my iPad, but I'm going to leave Spark on

00:43:51   my iPad.

00:43:53   Okay.

00:43:53   Because if I'm going to do some work at home, I'm only going to do that on my iPad. And

00:43:57   this will allow me to do some stuff without getting my Mac. Because I feel like that there

00:44:03   is another step there where I could like maybe I'm going to do some work or grab my iPad

00:44:08   dah, dah, dah, dah, dah, rather than go and grab my Mac, which will drag me in way more

00:44:12   than my iPad will. But that one is like a let's see though, because if I find I'm just

00:44:17   checking my email a bunch when I'm at home on my iPad, then no, that's going to go too.

00:44:21   That's where I am so far. Now the thing about like when I check like we both agree it should

00:44:28   not be the first thing I do when I get to the office.

00:44:31   Correct.

00:44:31   I agree with you. I just can't promise that at least to start.

00:44:37   Okay.

00:44:38   But it is my goal. Like maybe it'll be easy because like I just don't really want to do

00:44:42   my email. So maybe it won't be that hard. I don't know. Maybe I'll be looking for

00:44:47   things to do before I can get the email.

00:44:49   Okay. Here's an action item, which is a little bit of a, like a mental shift, but I'm trying

00:44:54   to give you like little steps here. Right. So both for your commute and like when you

00:44:59   arrive at the office, you can start with a baby step of no email for 20 minutes. Like

00:45:06   that's all it has to be. Right. You just can't check your email for the first 20 minutes.

00:45:10   You got to do something else. But I think more importantly, cause like there's this

00:45:14   thing that you're worried about, which is about like checking the email on the iPad

00:45:18   at home a bunch. I think something that you should have in mind is if you're going to

00:45:23   check email at home, you have to be able to answer yes to the question. Do I have 20 minutes

00:45:31   right now unbroken to deal with email?

00:45:33   That's good. Yeah.

00:45:34   Like if you can answer yes to that question, then there's no problem here. Like do you

00:45:38   have 20 minutes to work on this? If there's something in here that needs your attention,

00:45:42   great, then you can check it. But if you don't, then you're just in that loop of like checking

00:45:48   to check. What you're doing is you're checking to soothe yourself is really what you're doing.

00:45:53   Yeah. That's what I don't want for sure.

00:45:55   And checking to soothe yourself is real bad. Like everyone does it, but it's very bad.

00:45:59   Cause my main concern about turning off notifications is like, does that mean I'm just

00:46:04   checking my email more? Because like I'm not getting the notifications. So do I keep checking

00:46:08   the inbox? Like the only way for me to reduce this notification thing is I can't have email

00:46:13   on my phone at all. Because if I'm going to turn off the notifications, I know myself,

00:46:18   I will be opening my email inbox more than I did before.

00:46:21   Right. Right. Of course.

00:46:22   And so the only way to stop myself from doing that is I got to cut it off. I got to cut

00:46:26   it off at the source. It's going to go. It's basically impossible to not have email on

00:46:31   my phone at all, but I'm just not going to have the app that I use. Right? Like the mail

00:46:36   app, it's like, it's doing its thing out there, the Apple mail app. And my accounts

00:46:40   are just signed in and it's just like, whatever, but I'm not going to look at it cause I hate

00:46:44   that app anyway. I feel like it is too complicated, more complicated than I want to be like turning

00:46:50   off the ability for my phone to get email. But I think that's fine. Like I'm not worried

00:46:56   about that for me.

00:46:57   There's various times in various ways I have tried to disable a bunch of stuff and I have

00:47:02   come to the conclusion that in most scenarios, zero ability to do thing on your phone is

00:47:10   not the correct number because like you do have these events that just cause a massive

00:47:15   pain in the butt if you can't.

00:47:16   Yeah. Like I just thought of one, two factor codes by email.

00:47:19   Yeah. Two factor codes by email is one of those things.

00:47:22   So I need to have the mail app there so I can grab those. Cause look, there are accounts

00:47:28   that I have for things where they don't have passwords. Like the only way to sign in is

00:47:32   to sign in through a mail app. Like I don't want that to be the case. I think honestly,

00:47:36   passwordless login, I hate it.

00:47:38   I hate it too. Yeah.

00:47:39   It's very frustrating. And everyone that's like, oh, it's so great.

00:47:42   It's so secure. No, you're just passing the security to somebody else. Like you're

00:47:46   not doing your job in my opinion.

00:47:48   Yeah. I'll give you a very strange two factor thing that I read into. So again, like I don't

00:47:53   do email on my phone. I was like, oh, I have access to a thing. I ran into the weirdest

00:47:57   two factor thing, which is I had to renew my driver's license while I was in North Carolina.

00:48:03   And.

00:48:04   Your American driver's license.

00:48:06   Yeah. And while I was doing that, in order for a certain step of the procedure to proceed,

00:48:12   I needed to give them a code that they sent to my email. And it was like such a strange

00:48:19   verification process. Like I'm here with my passport and like all of my documentation

00:48:25   and my driver's license. And the lady's like, we've emailed you a six digit number

00:48:31   at your email address. And like, you cannot proceed until you give me that number.

00:48:35   Was wild.

00:48:36   When did it happen that email became like the most important and secure thing that everybody

00:48:41   has in their lives when people are getting their emails hacked all the time? Like, well,

00:48:46   when did these two things come together and we're happy with that? You know?

00:48:49   Yeah, it's crazy. But that's another case of like, there are enough edge cases where

00:48:55   zero access is just more of a problem. Like if I hadn't been able to give that lady that code,

00:49:01   it would have cost me weeks of setup and like getting an appointment at the DMV for like to

00:49:06   be like, oh, well, I don't do that because I'm so busy. I actually don't have email on my phone,

00:49:11   lady. It's like no one wants to hear that. Right. Like then you're just a weirdo.

00:49:14   This might actually like increase my adoption of pass keys.

00:49:19   Oh, yes. Yes. Well, that's a whole other thing.

00:49:21   Like I've ignored them so far because I'm kind of like, this is a new technology and I don't

00:49:27   want to start just like giving up passwords for a problem that I can't yet foresee. But you know,

00:49:33   this is a way of just using like the face ID on my iPhone as the two factor rather than

00:49:37   a code or whatever. So maybe there'll be some things that like if they have pass keys and

00:49:43   they're otherwise going to send me an email, I'll be like, all right, go set up a pass key.

00:49:46   Yeah. Yeah. Maybe. Even though I'm just not convinced about how well that technology works.

00:49:51   Yeah. Yeah. I too have put this in the bucket of like, I'm going to give this a couple of years and

00:49:55   then we'll see where we are. So the pass key stuff is different. Yeah. It's like when two factor was

00:50:00   introduced, it was complicated, but now it's like super simple. Yeah. Like I have most of my two

00:50:05   factor, like in my one password. So when I click on the thing to log in one pass, so it just fills

00:50:09   the two factor code. Like it's like really easy. Right. And I know one pass could somehow do

00:50:14   something with pass. I'm just not bothering yet. I'm like going to give it a little bit more time,

00:50:19   but I see the thought about it. Right. Like if all of our devices have a biometric authentication

00:50:23   method, that is 100% the best way to do it than getting a code out of an email account.

00:50:28   Yeah. But I mean like, I'm not going to hold my breath on the DMV setting up a pass key system

00:50:35   anytime soon. Well, but the thing is though, like there is a genuine benefit to these organizations

00:50:40   because then they don't have to worry about the servers getting hacked. Yeah, for sure.

00:50:44   Because it's no longer their problem anymore. So I actually do imagine this to be more readily

00:50:49   adopted by more organizations because it's an easy step for them to take and have to not worry about

00:50:55   a bunch of all this stuff that they had to do. Yeah, true. All of that is just to say, I agree

00:51:01   with you that you need to have access, but you want to have access in such a way where it is

00:51:07   very clear you are never going to attempt to use this tool. It is just there for these kind of edge

00:51:13   cases of like, Oh, I got an email that I'd from a thing for something I'm doing right now and I just

00:51:18   need to be able to like click a confirmation link to get a thing. Like that's just the way the world

00:51:23   is and totally deleting email is just impractical. And in the same way that I tried many times that

00:51:30   eventually gave up on, you can disable the Safari browser entirely on your phone, which in my ideal

00:51:37   world, I would like to not have the browser on my phone, but it's the same thing of like, there's

00:51:41   just too many things that require the browser as like, I just have to give up this dream of my phone

00:51:49   has no email and has no browser is what I actually want. But it's like, I don't know. That's like

00:51:54   dreaming to live in a world where I don't need the phone at all. That's what I'm really dreaming

00:51:59   of there. You know, I've had someone suggested this to me ages ago and it's been on my mind

00:52:05   recently and I don't like it. The work phone. I don't remember what it was, but it was a

00:52:11   conversation we were having on this show and I think I was talking about all of these kinds of

00:52:16   things, but like differently. And they were just like, well, this could be solved if you just had

00:52:20   a work phone on a personal phone. And like the idea is so good. Just it's simple, right? Like

00:52:26   it's simple in the sense of like, well, there just isn't Slack on my personal phone. There is

00:52:31   something to be said for it. The problem is I don't want to carry two phones. I do not want two

00:52:36   phones. Like I don't under any circumstances want a second phone that I ever have to take anywhere.

00:52:43   Like that's the thing. So what I'm trying to do now is like get all of the benefits of what that

00:52:50   would be, I suppose, by like deciding the devices that have access to things, the devices that don't,

00:52:57   and then also implementing software tricks where I can. I think the whole idea of like the work

00:53:03   phone, personal phone thing that made more sense the further back in time you go from the creation

00:53:08   of the iPhone as much as people ever made fun of it. But I really do think like with the introduction

00:53:14   of focus modes, it's like you can get 80% of the way there through software. And I just think now

00:53:21   it is not worth doing the work phone, personal phone thing because it also introduces like a

00:53:27   whole bunch of other problems. Like even just trying to manage two different accounts. Like it

00:53:32   just, I strongly advise against that. And yes, two phones is such a pain.

00:53:37   Look, I've got to assume based on what this show is, that there are people inside of Apple that

00:53:44   work on the focus mode project that listen to this show. Like I've just got to naturally assume

00:53:49   that that is a possibility. If that's the case and you work on the focus mode project, focus modes

00:53:57   would be made so much better if I had the ability to turn off the preview of stuff that was waiting

00:54:01   for me. If I was able to turn off that entire little category that says like, while you were in

00:54:07   weekend focused and you can tap it and see this list of stuff that's being held, like I understand

00:54:13   why that's there. I get it. I completely understand. It makes a lot of sense for these kinds of things.

00:54:18   Like if you've got a two factor code in Gmail, right? Like all that stuff it's there in case you

00:54:22   need it. I would like to turn that off. Give me a setting. Focus mode is full of settings, which

00:54:28   are great. Like the longer it has gone on, the more settings it has gotten, the more complicated it has

00:54:33   gotten. But this is one of those things where I'm happy that somebody inside of Apple is like, you

00:54:38   know what? We have to add complication to the system to make it worthwhile. And it has gotten

00:54:43   better and better over the time. I would like this feature now, please, if you wouldn't mind adding

00:54:47   it. I think it would make focus modes even better than they already are as a system.

00:54:51   - I would also say if those engineers are listening, one, thank you because focus modes

00:54:55   are much more than I feel like I could have ever reasonably expected Apple to implement. Like

00:55:00   they really are so game changing. - It's a great system.

00:55:03   - It is. But I'm with Mike. Like my number one request would be that thing of like, I just,

00:55:09   to me, the whole point of the focus mode is I don't want to know. And so it is frustrating to have this

00:55:16   little thing here, which is like, oh, hey, while you're in this mode, like here's the stuff that

00:55:21   happens. Like just give me the option to make that go away. I just don't want to see it.

00:55:26   - No preview. - Yeah. Like I'm in weekend mode.

00:55:29   I don't want to know that while I was here, a bunch of work stuff was piling up. It's like the

00:55:34   whole point is to like, no, it's weekend mode. Like I'm just hanging out and having a good time.

00:55:40   And I don't even want to be tempted by like, oh, what was that message about that thing? No,

00:55:45   don't want to see it. - Yeah. Like I'm in my podcast

00:55:47   Recording Focus right now. And I've got like, while you're in Recording Focus, here's some

00:55:51   tasks from Todoist, here's some HomeKit notifications, here's a notification from the

00:55:55   Formula One app. Like I just don't want them. Like I just don't want that to be there. It only sits

00:56:01   in the notification center portion, I know, but habits, they're hard to break.

00:56:06   - I'm with you totally. I don't want Mike distracted while he's recording a podcast

00:56:10   and being like, oh, what happened in Formula One? Like it just pulls your mind in a way that is

00:56:14   contrary to the literal word focus, right? Like it's a focus mode. You shouldn't have a place

00:56:21   in the back of your brain, it knows, if I just like quickly tap my screen, I can just see if

00:56:26   like anything did happen. It's like, no, no, take that option away because this is the focus mode

00:56:32   to focus on what you're doing. - I feel like I know the answer

00:56:35   to this question, but I should turn off notifications on my Mac for email too, right?

00:56:39   - I mean, I would suggest so. I have a quality of life improvement for me,

00:56:44   which is I made a decision that my computer is also never the tool for a notification.

00:56:52   I don't ever want to get a notification on my computer.

00:56:54   - Well, I mean, Apple made that easy for you because notification center on the Mac

00:56:58   is abysmally bad. - Oh, it's terrible.

00:57:01   - It's unbelievable how bad it is. I've never seen a piece of the operating system that has

00:57:07   been made so much worse over time, which is weird. - Look, the only notification center that's worse

00:57:13   than the one on the Mac is the one on the Vision Pro. But again, I'm fine with that because I don't

00:57:17   want notifications on either of those. - I think the Vision Pro one is better,

00:57:21   but I genuinely think it is better because when you go into notification center on the Vision Pro,

00:57:26   you can at least see all of your notifications, right? On the Mac, they show you three,

00:57:31   you know? It's like, oh, you want to see more? Click this thing too. Like that's worse. I

00:57:35   actually think the Mac is worse. It doesn't make any sense. You have so much space on the screen.

00:57:40   Why do I only see three? Very strange. - Yeah. What I've decided is,

00:57:44   again, I was thinking about this with notifications a bunch, is how do I like simplify,

00:57:48   how do I try to get what I want to have happen happen? And I have decided that outside of some

00:57:54   very special cases, my phone is my notification device. This is how I am thinking about

00:58:01   notifications. This is where all notifications come. And so on my computer and on my watch,

00:58:08   I've basically shut down almost everything else unless it makes extremely specific sense

00:58:14   for that device. So for example, Final Cut on my Mac and Logic on my Mac can send notifications

00:58:22   because those are useful and they are specific to the Mac, but that's it. Otherwise, they just

00:58:28   don't get notifications. And my watch has some fitness notifications that just literally can't

00:58:34   appear anywhere else. So it's like, okay, watch, you can do that. But all notifications should be

00:58:41   phone notifications. And I think this works much better than you might think because with the

00:58:47   wireless charging stuff and the always on screen, it's like, look, wherever I am, my phone is always

00:58:52   just docked somewhere within view. So that's why like the phone is the notification device, is what

00:59:00   I have decided. And like everything else, iPads, Mac, watch, Vision Pro, all of it, like no

00:59:08   notifications here, phone first. That's what I'm doing.

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01:00:36   So I believe you also wanted to talk about your calendar?

01:00:39   Yeah, I mean, this is where there's not actually an app problem.

01:00:43   A life problem? Is that what you're going to say?

01:00:46   It's like a father time kind of problem, you know?

01:00:49   The problem is that life is short and calendars represent that. Okay.

01:00:53   Because really it's actually a meetings problem more than it's a calendar problem.

01:00:58   So I feel like over the years I have done two things. One is I have reduced

01:01:05   the amount of meetings that I need in my work. And then I've also just filled up my time with

01:01:13   the work that I do, which seems like a pretty normal thing to do, right? Like the work will

01:01:17   occupy the space that it has available to it. And a lot of the time more than that, right?

01:01:24   I mean, it's not like I don't have any quote unquote meetings. Like my podcasts are essentially

01:01:28   that, right? Like they are chunks of time on the calendar to talk to other people,

01:01:34   which are like functionally meetings.

01:01:36   Disgusting. I hate that.

01:01:37   You know what I'm saying?

01:01:38   No.

01:01:38   They are scheduled. They are frequent, right? Like they are recurring. Like, you know,

01:01:46   I have a Monday afternoon meeting with Jason, but we just so happened to record an upgrade during it.

01:01:51   Boo. I hate it. Thumbs down. Hate it. Reframe. Mike, that is the creative core of your work.

01:01:59   Those aren't meetings. Disgusting.

01:02:01   Yes. Okay. Well, we can move past that because we're getting lost now.

01:02:05   You are forging podcasts is what you're doing, right? Meetings. No.

01:02:11   But what I am realising now is that to get done all of the things that I want to do,

01:02:17   I am having to increase the amount of meetings that I need to do.

01:02:20   So this is now every Monday. We've always had this.

01:02:25   Me and Steven always had a meeting every Monday for Relay, but it's become more serious.

01:02:31   Like we brought Kerry into the meeting when she became chief advertising officer,

01:02:35   and it is more of a structured meeting with an agenda. Like it happens every Monday.

01:02:40   It's more formalised than it had been before.

01:02:43   So that's one that's always been there, but it's become something which does take more

01:02:47   focus than it did previously. Also on Mondays, I have a meeting with my assistant as part of

01:02:53   Project Air Traffic Control. And this is the idea of like, let's talk about what's going on

01:02:59   this week. How am I going to do it? Where can you help me? What do you need from me?

01:03:03   It is the way in which we set out the week. And it's been fantastic. Some of the things

01:03:09   that we've put in place are brilliant, and I feel so much more on top of my work because

01:03:15   of this meeting. But it's another meeting, right? And now as part of different things

01:03:21   we're doing at Cortex Brand, I need to have more meetings with more people. And so these

01:03:24   are meetings for social stuff to make sure we're doing that properly. We have meetings

01:03:29   for brand stuff with a brand team that we're working with. Like there's so much more, as

01:03:34   well as manufacturers, accountants, business advisors, like more and more stuff. I should

01:03:41   have seen this coming when I set the year of people as my yearly theme. I should have

01:03:45   seen this coming.

01:03:46   Who could have possibly seen it coming?

01:03:48   It's obvious now, but I don't feel like it was necessarily obvious before because

01:03:53   I've worked with and we continue to work with lots of different designers and creatives

01:03:58   stuff with Relay. But the majority of that stuff we're able to communicate over Slack

01:04:03   and it's worked on and sent back. And like with our designer David that we work with,

01:04:08   the majority of stuff that me and him talk about is done in Slack. Like there is a level

01:04:13   of autonomy that everybody can have and we don't need meetings. But some of the stuff

01:04:17   that I'm doing now, it's requiring much bigger thinking, bigger planning, putting things

01:04:23   out on calendars, and also a lot of the stuff it's in my head and no one can get that

01:04:29   out unless they talk to me about it, right? Like how do I think about this? What am I

01:04:34   working on next? What are we considering? Like all of this kind of stuff. And so it

01:04:39   is requiring meetings. But then also I do believe that some of these things over time,

01:04:45   they won't need meetings for anymore and people can just get on with them. But I do

01:04:49   think that those meetings will only be replaced by different ones, right? So when we're

01:04:54   done having meetings about social because we've got a good plan for our Instagram and

01:04:58   like that's fine, then that will only be replaced by something else, I'm sure, right?

01:05:03   Like when those meetings stop because that's just kind of the mode that we're in. It

01:05:07   is the essence of working with a team of people. Like you need to communicate with them. And

01:05:13   meetings are the way that that is done. I actually really enjoy the meetings because

01:05:18   I care deeply about the work and I enjoy all of the stuff. The issue is that I filled up

01:05:28   the time already. The time was full. And now we need to add more time in. And the thing

01:05:34   about meetings are they are so time intensive in the sense of how much space a meeting takes

01:05:43   up in your day. It's huge. Like you're always at an hour, right? You just say it's

01:05:48   an hour at least. And so the more meetings I'm having, the less time I have to handle

01:05:53   my workload. I mean, and all day events, I mean, geez, if I have an all day meeting,

01:05:59   genuinely at the moment I'm paying for that for a week.

01:06:01   Yeah, I believe it. Yeah. Was it last week that we met for our accountants?

01:06:05   That's what I was just thinking is you and I had basically an all day meeting and you

01:06:10   might expect that I'm anti-meeting, but I actually, I'm not as long as you're being

01:06:15   sensible about it. We had to have a meeting with accountants to go over some business

01:06:20   stuff and I often have the feeling of like, couldn't this just be some emails back

01:06:26   and forth? And the answer is in theory it could, but nonetheless, like actually meeting

01:06:33   up in person and talking things through in person, it is just fundamentally different

01:06:37   and very helpful sometimes. No, I think the meeting was needed. Like there

01:06:40   was just a thing that we've been trying to do for months and I think it really took

01:06:43   everybody getting in the room to understand what everybody wanted.

01:06:46   But that's exactly it. Like in person you can kind of come to understandings better

01:06:51   and faster than you can indirectly. And then yes, but it was still an all day meeting because

01:06:57   it's like, ah, you and me, we scheduled a meeting after the meeting, right? And it's

01:07:00   like, we still kept talking and stuff, but boy, I was just exhausted after a full day

01:07:08   of just like basically a meeting. It's very psychologically costly, even if it is also

01:07:13   very valuable. So like, you know, we had that meeting and

01:07:16   then there were tasks that I put off because of that, that I was still dealing with like

01:07:20   this week. It feels like at the moment, my calendar, my to-do list are like locked in

01:07:25   this delicate balance. The disruption of one just causes chaos for the other.

01:07:31   Yeah, for sure. For sure. You know, it's just making me realize that

01:07:34   I am still doing too much, but maybe that is just the function of running two businesses.

01:07:42   Like maybe this is just what it is for now at least. Like I actually don't think that

01:07:49   there is really that much I can do about this. I just need to get better about how I handle

01:07:54   the time, I think. And that is actually part of the year of people anyway, right? Like

01:07:59   my hope is this is the short term pain for the longterm gain. Like we're bringing people

01:08:06   in. So the better people are doing the right things because a lot of the stuff that everybody's

01:08:12   helping with is stuff that I was doing that I'm not doing. And like, I'm realizing the

01:08:18   benefit of that with my assistant, which is like, there is stuff that I wanted to do that

01:08:23   she is handling for me now, which is great. So I guess it is just a case of, I need to

01:08:28   take this moment to be cognizant and remind myself of the fact that if I'm going to keep

01:08:35   going down this route, which I believe is the right one, I need to continue to delegate.

01:08:39   Yeah, I think what I'm just kind of thinking of listening to you talk is like a similar

01:08:45   sort of thing that I'm kind of going through on my end with some things, but I think it

01:08:49   is important to separate in your mind two kinds of meetings. One of which is strategy

01:08:59   meetings. It's like you're meeting and discussing like, what are we doing at Relay? Or like

01:09:04   your air traffic control meeting, which is just like still just a great name that I might

01:09:08   steal. Like, what is it that we're trying to achieve over the next week? Right? Like

01:09:14   that's one kind of meeting. And there's other kinds of meetings which are like about getting

01:09:19   things done or are like the side effect of bringing on new people to help you. So the

01:09:27   strategy meetings are irreplaceable. I think there's just fundamentally nothing that you

01:09:30   can do to get rid of them. But it is good to keep in mind if you're doing a like future

01:09:37   work or onboarding meeting of just like the purpose of this is so that in the future,

01:09:44   this needs to happen less. That's what's really occurring with those meetings is like trying

01:09:49   to set up a structure so that down the road, these meetings need to happen less. And it's

01:09:56   just kind of good to like, keep that in the front of your mind when you are doing that

01:10:02   kind of like work or onboarding meeting. This is not a strategy meeting. This is a like,

01:10:08   how do we get things done better meeting and like, the meeting isn't the work. In strategy

01:10:15   meetings, that is the work because it is the strategy. But other meetings are like, this

01:10:20   isn't the actual work. This is the administrative overhead for the work. And that's the kind

01:10:24   of thing that you just want to focus on reducing. But if you're bringing on a bunch of people,

01:10:28   like guess what? Yeah, you're going to have a lot of that work. But you have to focus

01:10:32   on keeping it temporary.

01:10:33   Yeah, because people have to understand what we're doing, where we're coming from, we've

01:10:39   got to get on the same page. And that is better when we actually sit and have conversations

01:10:43   and can work through this stuff together. But yes, if you're bringing in the right

01:10:47   people, they should be able to understand that and take that and run with it.

01:10:52   Yeah, exactly.

01:10:53   The meetings thing, really, it's just like, I just wanted to talk about it because it's

01:10:57   just like happening to me. But like, this is the talk therapy part of today or the others

01:11:03   for the actionable things. There is nothing I can do about this except to use this as

01:11:07   a point to like flag in the ground, I need to be aware of it. That like, if I don't

01:11:13   try and control it, this will spiral out of control. And I will just be in meetings all

01:11:17   day, every day. And I actually can't do that because that is not something that I have

01:11:22   the time to do with how my work is scheduled right now. I imagine a scenario in 10 years

01:11:27   time where that is my job. Like my job is, I'm back to back meetings, five hours a day,

01:11:32   eight hours a day all day. Like I imagine that scenario is a possibility for me in a

01:11:37   decade from now.

01:11:38   Yeah, I can see that.

01:11:40   That doesn't bother me, right? That does not bother me. But it's, I can't do that now because

01:11:45   I'm still in the content lines, you know, I'm still, what do you say, forging notebooks

01:11:52   from paper mills or whatever. Like I'm still doing all of that. So I can't be back to back

01:11:58   in meetings all the time. Like even if that is what people may or may not want from me,

01:12:03   like it's not something that my current work load and work balance will allow for.

01:12:09   Yeah. I have an asterisk on that, which is like, I agree with you that I can imagine

01:12:14   a future where what you're doing is the meeting stuff. I don't think that's a probable future

01:12:19   because I think you like the hands-on creation of things quite a lot and you're good at it.

01:12:25   I still imagine that as a meeting. Like I could still be a meeting.

01:12:28   No, well, I mean, that's something we just got to get straight in your brain.

01:12:31   Yeah, yeah.

01:12:32   Oh yes, like when I'm writing in the mornings, it's just like a meeting because it can be

01:12:36   on my calendar. It's just a meeting with myself. Yeah. It's me in Obsidian. We're having a

01:12:41   meeting. It's like, yes, sure. That is technically correct in that it exists on a calendar, but

01:12:47   totally unhelpful in terms of thinking about it.

01:12:49   This is not right, right? Let's imagine 10 years time, Cortex brand has gone global.

01:12:54   You know, like we're in all the stores, you know, like product design is going to be very

01:12:59   different.

01:13:00   Yes, of course.

01:13:01   And it will be like, hey, there's a couple of people and we're working on a thing together.

01:13:06   Like I'm not going to be sitting down and same as I do now. I don't like, if there's

01:13:11   drawings to be done, I'm not doing them or is this layout to be done? I'm not doing it.

01:13:15   Like I can still help steer where it's going, you know? So like then again, it's like, it's

01:13:19   not like a meeting, but it is a brainstorm session, right? Which is essentially just

01:13:24   a meeting of a whiteboard.

01:13:26   Yeah, sure, sure. I will concede in these scenarios. You are correct, but I just, I

01:13:31   feel like this is not now, Mike, right? This is not now.

01:13:33   No, it's a long way, if ever. What I'm saying is I just want to kind of get it out that

01:13:38   like I don't have a problem with having more meetings. There just has to be imbalance.

01:13:46   But like if I just, if my work continues to take me in a scenario where I'm having more

01:13:51   and more and more meetings, I'm fine with that in theory, as long as the rest of the

01:13:58   balance is maintained and considered.

01:14:00   Yeah. And I actually, I really like that comment you made about how with the calendar and the

01:14:05   to-do list that there are two things and like exploding one like really explodes the other.

01:14:10   I think that is a sharpening up of a thought about productivity that I just hadn't put

01:14:16   into words. And I also feel like has been a real description of my life for the past

01:14:20   few months. I'm like, oh yeah, I've kind of had like huge calendar disruptions. And it's

01:14:24   like, yes, that has massive impacts on the to-do list. Like it's just, it's good to think

01:14:28   about it in that way. Like I like that framing quite a lot. But yes, you are making podcasts

01:14:33   while you're not having meetings. I just can't, I just, I can't even hear you say that.

01:14:38   It's been a good meeting so far.

01:14:39   God, no, don't you dare.

01:14:41   We've got a lot taken care of today. I've got some action, I have action items, which

01:14:45   is not a usual thing that I have at the end of a podcast. I have a list of seven, no eight

01:14:51   action items so far. That's something I want to get better at too. Like sometimes I leave

01:14:58   meetings and I'm like, I don't know what happens now.

01:15:04   Every meeting that matters, you have to have action items. Like if you don't have that,

01:15:08   what even happened? Like a bunch of people got together and talked about their feelings

01:15:11   for a while, like some kind of therapy session. No. And even therapy sessions, you should,

01:15:17   like right now, come out of them with a bunch of like clear action items. Like this is what

01:15:21   you're going to do. If there's no action items, what even happened? Just a bunch of words

01:15:27   on the wind. That's what happened.

01:15:28   So I'm trying to get better at that. Like when the meeting ends, we all agree on what

01:15:33   needs to happen and everyone goes away. Cause I really don't like the feeling when I leave

01:15:37   a meeting and I'm like, that was so much, I don't even know what happens now. And I've

01:15:42   had that more and more in Cortex brand than anything else that I've done because we are

01:15:48   constantly encountering things we've not dealt with before. Which I don't remember having

01:15:54   a time like this in a really, really long time. Like, but it's probably been like 10

01:15:59   years since I've had these kinds of feelings. And so I need to make sure that like, I'm

01:16:04   really noting that stuff down well, and it's getting moved to the right places and being

01:16:10   handled. Like that's something I'm trying to get better at for sure. And it's something

01:16:14   that I'm going to have to really, really be diligent about. If the meetings will continue,

01:16:21   session items must improve. This episode of Cortex is brought to you by Fitbaud. When

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01:18:35   Relay FM.

01:18:36   All right, considering that you're in therapist mode today, should we try and give some help

01:18:42   to the cortex ones and do some Ask Cortex questions?

01:18:44   Oh sure, yeah. Let's do Ask Cortex.

01:18:47   You can always send in your questions, whether you have questions for us or you'd like some

01:18:50   advice on something by going to askcortex.com and you can send them in.

01:18:54   Potospooke asks, "Since coming to college, I've been paying more attention to to-do lists

01:18:59   and utilizing them, and I've been having trouble with deciding which are the good tasks to

01:19:04   put on the to-do list and which tasks are just stupid. How do you decide which tasks

01:19:10   are good enough?"

01:19:11   Now I'll start by saying there are no stupid tasks.

01:19:14   No, I believe this. If you think that something needs to be remembered, you should write it

01:19:22   down and then over time you can learn if you needed to remember that or not. But like some

01:19:29   of the stuff that I put as a task is madness, but it makes me feel better to have done it.

01:19:35   Do you have an example of that?

01:19:37   Today I was on my way and I was like, "I've got to remember to have a coffee before we

01:19:42   start recording." Now that is not a problem for me. I know I know this, but I opened you,

01:19:46   I'd say coffee, in one hour. So in an hour I'd already bought the coffee, but the reminder

01:19:51   went off and I didn't have to think about it anymore because I'd already done it and

01:19:54   I was happy about it. But I would have really regretted it if I wouldn't have done it.

01:19:59   So it just goes into Dew, it's simple. So for me, just as a general thought, if you

01:20:06   have tasks that you think are important, they go in your to-do app. If you have tasks that

01:20:10   you think are "stupid," they can go in a different app. So they're not clogging things up, but

01:20:15   you're at least written them down and you're going to get a reminder, whether it's something

01:20:18   like Dew or reminders or even an Apple note or whatever. So you can feel better about

01:20:25   the fact that you did write it down somewhere. I do think that that is important. It's important

01:20:30   for the practice of understanding that if you have a task, it gets written down. So

01:20:35   you get into the habit of writing stuff down because if you don't, you will have important

01:20:39   things that will slip through the cracks. That's how I feel anyway.

01:20:42   Yeah, I think I was zeroing in too much on the task part of it. And also you say there's

01:20:46   no stupid tasks, which it's like, I get it in the way that you were framing it. I think

01:20:50   I was hearing it in a bit like, "Are there stupid things to do?" The answer to which

01:20:55   is like, "Well, yeah, obviously. There's real dumb things that you can do."

01:20:58   Yeah, but your to-do app's not going to help that.

01:21:01   Yeah. I think you're pushing more of an answer to this question, which I think I would summarize

01:21:09   as it is not possible to over capture ideas. The vast majority of people are under capturing

01:21:20   ideas, like the things that pop into their head. A huge number of which are tasks, like

01:21:25   I should do this or I should do that. If there's something that has popped into your head,

01:21:29   it cannot be so small as to not be worth writing down and considering later. I think thoughts

01:21:37   that come into your head by default should be captured.

01:21:39   And with to-do lists, I really am now pushing the like, I think it is so good to get into

01:21:46   the habit of talking to Siri or whatever your assistant is and just saying like, "Remind

01:21:53   me later to whatever," just as a starting point. I actually did this just on our pre-chat

01:21:59   today. There was something earlier and that kind of stuff has just gotten real good. And

01:22:05   like you said, can also be, even if you don't use the reminders app or whatever the default

01:22:08   is on your phone, that can be the place where just a bunch of random stuff lives that you

01:22:14   know that while you're talking to someone, you can just quickly like tell your phone

01:22:19   like, "Hey, remind me to whatever in X days or tomorrow or in an hour." Like, "Oh, there's

01:22:25   a thing I can't do now? Just like remind me in an hour to do this thing?" Once you start

01:22:29   doing that, it is shocking how often you will notice if you say like, "Oh, remind me in

01:22:34   an hour to do whatever," that when that hour comes up later, you have already completely

01:22:39   forgotten the thing and are like, "Oh, right. I need to do that." So yeah, like you cannot

01:22:44   possibly over capture this.

01:22:46   - Man, you saying about talking to Siri about this stuff like we're on the verge of such

01:22:51   potential later on this year.

01:22:53   - Yeah, yeah. I think this is only going to get better for sure.

01:22:56   - This stuff could get incredibly good. Like the ability to be able to talk to the assistant

01:23:01   on your phone and like with tasks and understanding your calendar and knowing that like there

01:23:08   is a potential here that I am actually pretty excited about and I just hope that they're

01:23:12   able to realize something even partly good. Like as you say, like for adding tasks and

01:23:18   reminders and timers and all that kind of stuff, it's good right now that it's gotten

01:23:22   better over time, but like there is a potential huge leap that they could make if they can

01:23:28   work out some kind of LLM-based Siri that's actually good.

01:23:32   - Yeah, for sure. I mean, I can see even little inklings of this. It's like a slight sidebar

01:23:37   of the thing that I ultimately decided on as the action button on my phone is talk to

01:23:42   chat GPT is what I use the action button for.

01:23:46   - Oh, that's interesting. Mine by the way is adding tasks.

01:23:51   - Yeah, yeah. I think that makes sense.

01:23:53   - And it's fantastic. So I hit it. It says like, what's your task? I write down the task

01:23:57   and I say like, okay. It was like, what time? And I type in a time and it's like, where

01:24:02   do you want this to go? And if it goes to do this or it goes to do. If it goes to do,

01:24:05   it's done. If I press to do it, it says what project do you want to put this in? And I

01:24:09   do that. So it's like for me, like adding tasks, it starts with one action, which is

01:24:13   pressing the action button. And then there's a flow that I go through, which is very quick.

01:24:18   And I really like it because sometimes it means I can add the task when I'm still looking

01:24:22   at the thing that's on my phone. Cause it's just popping up over the top, you know?

01:24:26   - Okay. I do have one exception that just popped into my head as like, what kind of

01:24:30   tasks are just like, just stupid to add. And I think there is an exception here, which

01:24:36   is if you're in like a real work mode, you're in an optimal scenario. So like you're, you're

01:24:41   on your computer and you're doing work. I feel like sometimes I'm in a real like administration

01:24:47   mode. You're just like doing a bunch of things in that mode. If something pops up in my head

01:24:54   as like, Oh, this is a thing that I should do. I won't write it down. If it's something

01:24:59   that I can just do quickly right now. - Oh yeah. I mean, it doesn't make any sense

01:25:04   to add a task if you can do the thing, like just do the thing. Yeah.

01:25:08   - Yes. That is the exception. If you can do the thing, the moment that you have thought

01:25:13   of it and it is not interrupting some kind of other workflow, then you should just do

01:25:19   it. That's when it's a bad idea to write it down. I think that that use case in a sense

01:25:24   is quite narrow because you also just want to be sure that you're not derailing yourself

01:25:31   right in like what are you actually trying to accomplish? That's why I think of it as

01:25:34   like if I'm in admin mode, that's when I'll like I'll write down the smallest number of

01:25:39   tasks because I'm just like I can do more things in that moment. But yeah, so it's like

01:25:44   if the administrative overhead of tracking the thing is not worth just clearing it immediately,

01:25:50   then don't do it. But yeah, there's no task too small, which actually goes to the next

01:25:56   Ask Cortex question that we have, which is from Riley, who asks, "You answered a question

01:26:02   about how long each of you go without looking at your phone after waking up. They want to

01:26:08   ask, 'How long do you go without looking at your to-do list for the day?'" And I like

01:26:15   this question because my previous answer for how long do you go before you look at your

01:26:21   phone was like zero. Like I wake up and I basically look at the phone immediately for

01:26:26   something. And it's like, oh, what is almost certainly one of the very first things that

01:26:32   I am looking at? It is my to-do list. Like the to-do list is almost certainly one of

01:26:38   the first things that I'm looking at. And when asking about like, oh, is a task too

01:26:43   small to have on your to-do list? No, because I have what I call my whole boot up routine

01:26:51   in the morning of like, hey, welcome to consciousness, Gray. Here's the order in which you need to

01:26:57   do things to boot up into being a human who's like ready to go and get to work. And that

01:27:03   checklist, that list of to-do items is so dumb, right? It is like brush teeth level

01:27:10   dumb, but I love it. And it really just like makes the morning totally brain dead easy

01:27:18   for like, no, no, this is the order in which I know I need to do things.

01:27:22   Are you getting like a dopamine hit from this? Is that one of the reasons that you like it?

01:27:26   Like you just enjoy checking the checklist off, like look how productive I am.

01:27:29   So there is, there's two things that are happening here. One thing is it is totally a like get

01:27:37   into the swing of things, right? This is what you should be doing. You should be getting

01:27:41   up and like starting to work through your list because the like first half of the day

01:27:47   is the vitally important work half of the day. So like just make this go nice and easy.

01:27:52   So I do think there is something that's like training your brain to be like, look at the

01:27:57   thing that you have decided it should be guiding your day. And here's 20 easy wins to start

01:28:06   the day off as like good momentum for sure. But the other part of this, which I didn't

01:28:12   appreciate when I first started it is order really matters. And I think when I used to

01:28:21   wake up, it's like I sort of had in my head all of the things that I need to do. But Mike,

01:28:28   in Magic the Gathering, there's a thing called sequencing, right? Which is the order in which

01:28:32   you're going to play your cards. Very important. And new players underrate the value of sequencing.

01:28:40   You can do all of the same things on a move, but if you don't sequence them correctly,

01:28:44   it's the difference between winning and losing. And so I have slowly sequenced the morning

01:28:50   to just be better for me of like, yes, here's 10 things that need to happen before I like

01:28:56   stumble on my way to the gym or whatever I'm doing that morning. But this order of like,

01:29:03   no, I want to do this before this. I want to do that before this as just like the dumbest

01:29:08   sort of thing. Every morning it's like, okay, I need to get dressed for the day, but I also

01:29:13   want to weigh myself. The number of times in the past where it's like, I'm just kind

01:29:18   of stumbling around in the morning and it's like, and I get dressed and it's like, oh,

01:29:20   I also want to weigh myself. The chance that I'm going to just like take off the clothes

01:29:25   I have just put on to weigh myself is zero. So it's like, no, no, weigh myself is like

01:29:31   the very first thing in the morning because it's also the thing that like I've learned

01:29:36   if I don't do that one first, it's like wildly drops the probability that it's going to occur

01:29:42   later. So that's what's occurring as well. It's like, just pay attention. I actually

01:29:47   want to do these things and like this is the order to do them. So the answer to when do

01:29:51   I look at my to do list is like first thing with like my barely open eyes. Like what do

01:29:56   I need to do? Step one, get out of bed. What about you, Mike?

01:30:01   I mean, I don't know anymore because it was look at my email. So yeah, you're in a new

01:30:06   world. That's the first thing I was doing. So who knows? Maybe to do will be first, but

01:30:10   I don't think so. Because like my tasks are pretty set. Like I don't know how soon it

01:30:20   would be before I look at my to do list. It's probably most days it's not until I get to

01:30:26   the office because I am pretty good about like, as I said before, every task gets a

01:30:29   time for me a day at a time. It's going to remind me. So if I need to do something before

01:30:37   I get to the studio, my phone will let me know. Like on Mondays I buy groceries for

01:30:46   lunches during the week. Well, I have that set to remind me a time which is good on a

01:30:51   Monday that reminds me to go buy those groceries. Like I don't need to have looked at my to

01:30:56   do list for that to occur to me. So it's not super soon. Maybe it will become that way.

01:31:01   I have no idea what I will do tomorrow morning when I wake up. I have no idea what's going

01:31:08   to happen. You're a free man, Mike. What we find is like whatever app I put in my dock,

01:31:14   that's the one that will get opened. All right, well you need to really think about what that's

01:31:17   going to be then. Yeah, I have no idea. I think I'm going to have to be three apps in

01:31:20   the dock for a little bit because I don't know what could get promoted to dock worthy.

01:31:25   Yeah, another action item for you. Matthew writes in to say, considering your love of

01:31:30   heated seats and air conditioning, do you have a heat pad on your office chair? This

01:31:35   is a great question because we all found out that you love and you think the best way and

01:31:39   I have from so many people, my God, this is so frustrating to me. So many people in my

01:31:44   life were just telling me, oh man, I love to put on the air conditioning and turn on

01:31:49   the heated seat. I was getting this left, right and center. Great. You deserved it.

01:31:54   No, I don't deserve it. You know what? I don't deserve it. Heated seats and air conditioning

01:31:59   team unite. Finally, there's people on my side with an air conditioning topic. Well,

01:32:03   I actually do have another one that I didn't put into the show notes, but I will read to

01:32:07   you now because it doesn't require much action, but you might want to hear this. This comes

01:32:11   from Lauren who says, I would never have thought to do the thermostat hacking when we arrived

01:32:18   at our Hawaii resort hotel and the thermostat only went down to 68 degrees Fahrenheit and

01:32:23   did not actually even come close to the actual temperature. I immediately jumped on YouTube

01:32:28   and found a video showing how to unlock our exact thermostat and it made our trips so

01:32:32   much more comfortable. Thank you, Gray. Oh, you're welcome. Look at me improving lives.

01:32:39   I'm still not sure about the legality of these things or the safety of these things, but

01:32:44   nevertheless you have air conditioning in your office. Do you have a heated seat that

01:32:50   you're sitting on? So I just have to say to Matthew, thank you. Oh no. I don't know how

01:32:58   this never occurred to me before, but I am going to do this. You could get one of those

01:33:03   massage things. What do you mean by the mass? What are you, what are you thinking of? What's

01:33:07   in your head for this? There are a lot of these like seat pads that are like massage

01:33:12   things that also have heat options. Hmm. So you could get like one of these like massage

01:33:18   chair additions that you can put onto like any office chair, which you could just use

01:33:22   for heating. But every now and then maybe also a massage, you know, that sounds very

01:33:27   fancy. Yeah. I don't know how this thought never entered my head. It just like, it just

01:33:31   never occurred to me, but uh, yeah, I'm going to think this through. Yeah. This is 100%

01:33:38   in my future. Heated chair, frozen office. Cortexins. We're very excited to introduce

01:33:47   you to a three part membership event. Very excited. I have never seen the Lord of the

01:33:53   Rings trilogy. Unbelievable to me. Never seen them. That is changing. If you are a cortex

01:34:01   member, if you sign up at get more text.com, not only do you get access to ad free longer

01:34:07   versions of each and every episode of cortex, including an ad free back catalog, you also

01:34:13   get access to the more text special episodes feed. This feed includes all of the specials

01:34:19   that we've done in the past, all of the text adventures in the RPGs and now the first episode

01:34:26   where we have watched Lord of the Rings, the fellowship of the ring. We've watched it together.

01:34:31   Me for the first time, Gray for the many of time and we talk about it. So we're going

01:34:37   to be doing three episodes, one for each movie and they're going to be available just two

01:34:43   more Texans. So pumped for this. We've recorded the first one. I could just never hold it

01:34:48   in my mind that Mike had not seen these movies because it's such an unbelievable fact to

01:34:53   me. It's like what member of civilization has not seen these movies? It was Mike and

01:34:59   we talked about this a bunch and in our conversations I eventually realized like I have not seen

01:35:05   these movies in a long time. Like it has been a long time since I sat down and like properly

01:35:11   watched them through. And so yeah, we're like, you know what we're doing for cortex? This

01:35:16   is what we're doing. So we have recorded a fellowship of the ring. You can go listen

01:35:22   to it right now and we are recording the other two episodes and it's like, ah, I'm so excited.

01:35:30   I won't say what I thought of the movie that will be only for more Texans, but the episode

01:35:35   was a ton of fun to do. Yeah. And I think that people are really going to enjoy it.

01:35:39   So you can get this right now by going to get more tax.com and of course there'll be

01:35:45   via link in the show notes.

01:35:46   - Get more techs.com.

01:35:48   [ Silence ]