Freelance Friday 046 – March 15 2019

This week, the family was sick again. As I write this I only slept a few hours, and some of them were on the couch so I didn’t disturb my wife more as I tossed and turned.

Last week I mentioned thinking about a content change, well it’s going to happen. Watch for a video next week as I talk about what’s going on with my content in the future.

If you’ve found my content helpful then new in 2019 I’ve opened up a Patreon page. You can help ensure that more helpful content keeps coming.

I Shipped

Monday I walked you through my GoRuck GR1 and what I’ve liked about it in the 2 years I’ve had the bag. In short, if you’re looking for a great all around bag, then this is a solid option. You’ll want a few packing cubes to provide some extra organization but it’s a sturdy bag that won’t let you down.

Wednesday I brought you along for a workout as I rode/ran/rode to a local mountain in the cold. Since then we’ve had snow and yesterday was 15C. The weather is crazy.

Friday Five

1. You Focus on what you don’t have

Oliver Burkeman for The Guardian:

When you don’t have enough of something, you fixate on it, so it occupies much more mental bandwidth. If you’re not sure you’ll have enough money to feed your family all this month, you have an obvious problem, but also a non-obvious one: the toll on your mental resources, research suggests, will undermine your ability to make wise spending decisions, damaging your chances of escaping your predicament.

Probably one of the hardest chunks of my marriage was 2017 and 2018 as we worked so hard to figure out every month how to even come close to the household expenses. We spent so much time arguing over money and being stressed about it. Having a bit of slack in the system (where I can look forward and we’re paid for a few months with cash in the bank) is nice.

I want to make 2019 the year of space, which is really what the article is about. This is one reason I spend 4 hours Friday afternoon doing whatever strikes my fancy. Maybe writing short pieces like this, maybe trolling the library. How about some sushi and a coffee with a book. Why not take a long walk home to explore a few random streets.

Those few hours on Friday are some of the best hours of the week. They’re certainly the ones I look forward to most.

Sure, I can resolve to leave work early on Friday to spend an hour strolling in the park – I’m lucky to have that option – but when it comes to Friday afternoon itself, any mildly urgent task will prove more powerful than my initial intention, and I’ll end up rooted to my desk.

This is why I ignore my email on Friday and never plan to work then. It’s been about 8 years I’ve been telling clients I have a standing Friday meeting. It’s with me, but it still communicates my lack of availability for anything.

2. I need to get back to book reviews

This goes with the upcoming content change.

Thomas Oppong:

Learning comes down to two things: repetition, and connecting new information to existing knowledge.

And

Learn for 50% of the time and explain what you learn for 50% of the time.

You’ll notice a lack of book reviews. I haven’t stopped reading but with attempting to see what’s up with YouTube I haven’t had time to review the books I’m reading.

I talked to my Patreon members today about cutting my quantity of content to go deep. I’d guess that this would go with the books I’m reading, or at least the topics would jump off the ideas found in the books I’m reading.

I certainly feel like I have less understanding of the books I’m reading right now. This is not a good thing.

How do you make sure you retain what you learn?

3. On Hybrid Digital and Analog Task Management

If you’re looking for a solution for this, check out this thread in The Productivity Guild. I do a hybrid system, which I wrote about in Analogue Productivity, and showed off in my March planning video.

4. I keep grabbing my phone

Kevin Rose for The New York Times:

For the rest of the week, I became acutely aware of the bizarre phone habits I’d developed. I noticed that I reach for my phone every time I brush my teeth or step outside the front door of my apartment building, and that, for some pathological reason, I always check my email during the three-second window between when I insert my credit card into a chip reader at a store and when the card is accepted.

I keep finding that having my phone in my pocket is a terrible thing. I reach for it in a minute of boredom and I don’t even have social media or email on it. I do check RSS feeds just in case someone has written something excellent.

I’m working to remember to put my phone in my bag loose with the rest of my stuff so that I have to put my bag down and fish it out to do anything with it.

If you’re looking for a good read on cutting screen time then I just finished Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport and very much enjoyed it’s balanced approach to getting away from the pull of the screen. Yes, I’ll be writing more on it in the next while.

5. Jason Snell on iOS Roadblocks

From Jason:

As I wrote earlier this month, I ended up finishing my Six Colors Report Card story on the Mac because I ran into several roadblocks when I tried to finish the project on my iPad.

He has a bunch of minor things that he couldn’t “just do” on an iPad and so…he went back to macOS. I think his last paragraph is telling though.

This is perhaps my final lesson from this process : That I can work around most, if not all, of the roadblocks that iOS places in front of me. It might take an app I’ve never heard about, a feature of an app I rarely use, or hours of hacking together scripts based on code samples found in Google searches, but I can probably make it work. That’s not necessarily an endorsement—in the end it was far easy for me to go back to the Mac, where I’ve assembled all the tools I need to do my job over more than two decades. It’s a reminder that as appealing as working on my iPad is, there are still rough areas that I’m much more comfortable handling on my Mac.

As I read this section it seems a bit like you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. Not that I’m implying Jason can’t learn, but that he has already solved all these issues on his Mac over the decade of working on it and learning to solve them again seems like way too much work.

We all fall into that space in different places. Where we once dug deep into something, we have stopped digging and are happy with whatever we have. Learning has stopped unless forced upon us.

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