Digital Minimalism

Recently I started reading Cal Newport’s new book Digital Minimalism and although I’m only a few chapters in it’s pretty enlightening. The beginning talks a lot about the habit of social media and how the apps are designed to keep up coming back for the next “hit” when you are bored.

He talks about going on a 30-day detox from all social media and then after you’ve broken the habit slowly add things back that will enrich your life. Not bad advice but I love the Twitter water cooler and I’m not willing to give it up. Sorry Cal. But I did decide to take it to heart and try to rework the way I use all social media.

Starting this weekend I’ve deleted all social apps off my phone and even chat apps like Discord and Telegram. I did keep work the apps like email, Slack, and Basecamp, but these aren’t time wasters like the others. Here is what my current phone screens look like:

I’m trying to not use Safari to access social channels and I’m logged out of all of them. Then if I really want to check it then I must use a computer. If you need to get in touch with me your best bet is email and I’ve turned off public DM’s on Twitter and all notifications.

You don’t realize how addictive the apps are until you delete them all and then stuck in the slow line at the grocery store. It brings back some nostalgia seeing the headlines of the tabloid trash at the checkout aisle for the first time in years.

Sharing My Illustrations on Dribbble

I’ve been doing a lot of illustrations lately and I’ve been trying to create one a night as practice. Here is tonight’s that I named “Triggered”:

Triggered
Triggered

I’m not sure the best place to share these since it’s not tech stuff I typically share on Twitter, so I figured I’d giver Dribbble a try. If you are interested you can find me at @ericlbarnes and I’m going to continue trying to create a new drawing each day.

I’d eventually like to make some geeky comics with basic drawings but coming up with a funny story is quite difficult. If you have anything you’d like drawn just reply below in the comments. I’d be happy to create you something to the best of my abilities and it’d give me some practice.

Find and Replace Colors in Sketch App

For Laravel News we use a lot of icons for the featured images and these usually come from the Noun Project or Undraw. They are quick to use and work really well. Sometimes I need to change the colors of the icons and a simple method for doing this is with the Sketch App.

Just go to Edit -> Find and Replace Colors, select your colors, and hit replace. It’s instant. Here is a quick animated gif showing it in action:

That’s all it takes to quickly change an icon and it’s a feature I will use a lot in the future.

Netflix Fyre Festival Documentary

I’ve been hearing about this documentary for a while now, and I finally sat down to watch it last night. I can see why this generated so much buzz. Spoilers are ahead.

If you’ve never heard of Fyre Festival, it was going to be a luxury music festival on a private island in the Caribbean. Every step of the way was a disaster and the creator of the event, Billy McFarland, never stopped pushing to make it happen.

I think we all love watching a train wreck and the way the story was told everyone seen it coming except the creator, Billy McFarland.

Of course, we only see the aftermath and stories from the people that were involved and hindsight is always 20/20. What struck me is how they all seemed to know it was never going to work but put their head down and continued working.

The craziest part to me was at the end after everything failed he called a meeting with his full-time employees and said something to the effect of, “No one is fired, and you all have jobs, but we will not be making payroll anymore.”

The whole documentary just reminded me so much of the VC push of growth at all costs and how these entrepreneurs bow to the dollar. They will do anything to enrich themselves.

More than anything you should watch this for the human side of it. How it seems we are all wired to pull for the team and even when we feel something isn’t quite right we push that to the side. People like McFarland know how to prey on this, and as employees, we all need to be on the lookout for hucksters and scammers.

If you go to a job interview and get an uneasy feeling about the company, keep looking. I know this is hard because you need a job, but sometimes you have to say no. The same way if you get multiple job offers really weigh them out. If you want to be happy long term, money should not be the driving force.

F12 Consoles Me

For the past few days I’ve been trying to do one quick drawing a day. Usually over my lunch break. The goal is mainly practice but I like to share even if they are horrible. That is how I improve.

For today’s, I was looking for inspiration and remembered Wes Bos has a dad jokes repo with a bunch of web development jokes. I found about a the Console which lead to the above.

If I can get enough characters one day I hope to be able to easily create a comic strip instead of the one offs like this.

Not Crushing My Mornings

Most people set their morning alarm so they can wake up jump out of bed and start their day. I’ve always done this as well. I would know I need to be up at a certain time to get everything done before the workday starts and that is the time I’d set my alarm.

Lately, I’ve changed this routine. Instead of setting an alarm to get up I’m setting two. The first is to wake up, the second is to get out of bed. The time between the alarms is meant for one thing. Laying in bed and just thinking, reflecting, and letting my mind wonder.

Since I’ve started doing this it’s been the best part of my day. Because I’m still in bed I feel relaxed, whereas when I’m up and moving around it’s hard to take the time to just sit and think.