Friday Notes 075 - October 18 2019

Canada finished celebrating Turkey Day last weekend, and we threw a family birthday for a new 9-year-old in the house. Brunch was had and we were eating cake around lunch time. That means it’s been a busy, but great week around the McHale house.

To continue my email list only content let’s talk about being the center of our own worlds as Neil Pasricha says in You Are Awesome. If you want to get this newsletter only content subscribe

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I Shipped

Monday I had a bit of a confessional post and video about working being exhausting and thankless sometimes. It actually went pretty well with my reading of Pasricha’s book above the next day.

Also, thanks to everyone that thanked me for my work following that post or told me to keep going because I’ve helped them run their business better or have more time with their kids, or that they liked me LEGO photos.

Friday Five

1. Use Homebrew to Set Your Mac Up Faster

One of the things that’s great about working on an iPad is that all my apps are saved in an iCloud backup. Setting it up again is a fairly painless process, which is not the same with macOS.

Casey Liss showed off a way to make setting up a new macOS install easier with Homebrew. I actually knew about this and thought about doing it, but I set up a new Mac every few years. New servers are automated, because that happens a dozen times a year at least.

Anyway, check out Hombrew to setup your Mac faster.

2. Just Test It Out

From Derek Sivers:

There’s a huge difference between in-theory versus in-practice. If you’ve been deliberating on something for a while, get it out of your head, and into the world.

One thing that people looking at freelance almost always leave to late is working to get their own client so they have to deal with all the "other" stuff that isn’t doing design or writing code. They focus on what billing software is best, or how to get contracts...and yes it’s important but it’s a waste of time if you figure out you hate dealing directly with clients and aren’t going to do it.

Just try something out.

3. Busy...or Focused and Happy?

MacSparky on being busy:

For instance, when you see an old friend and ask how they’re doing, they will often tell you how busy they are. Busy seems to have turned into something like a badge of honor. That’s a mistake. To me, busy means that you haven’t figured out yet what is truly important. Busy means you are lousy at saying no. Busy often means that you make everything a priority, which ultimately means that nothing is a priority.

Nir Eyal, in his new book Indistractable1, brings forward the idea that if you’re always distracted, maybe you don’t think the work you’re doing is the best expression of your values. You don’t think the work is worth it.

I feel that a lot of what "busy" is for me, is distraction happening so I don’t really focus on the work at hand. Then I feel stressed out and...I’m busy. Days I stay focused, I don’t feel busy and I don’t feel stressed out.

I recently saw a sign on my daughter’s preschool that said: "Do more of what makes you happy"

Are you doing what makes you happy? What step this week are you going to take to change that?

4. Out of Office Because I’m Working

Justin Jackson asks why we don’t say we’re out of office when we have a big project to work on.

What would happen if you took time away from your daily grind and focused on your personal project?

I did this one year while writing a book. I took every Monday and figured I wasn’t in the office for work and wrote a book. As I struggle to do...something with a current book, I’m asking myself why I don’t start taking a day a week to work on it and ignore everything else?

5. Revealing Your Failures Helps Others

From a study titled Mitigating Malicious Envy:

People are reticent to reveal their failures--both as they are happening and after they have occurred. However, in two experiments, we find that revealing successes and the failures encountered on the path to success (compared to revealing only successes) decreases observers’ malicious envy.

What that means is, when you talk about your failures people aren’t jealous in a bad way about any success you’ve had. It increases empathy for you. The study says that revealing failure is "a counterintuitive yet effective interpersonal emotion regulation strategy".

When we share our failures it helps others realize that maybe their own failures maybe aren’t all their own fault. Driven people tend to figure that any failure is because they didn’t do enough, and they ignore any environment or other impacts that may have contributed to the failure.

It’s not all about you, sometimes things fail despite perfect effort and execution from you. Keep going.


  1. I was given an advanced reader copy of Indistractable for free ↩︎