Note to self…

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Note to self… Do not tweet when I’m angry. Nothing good can from it and nine times out of ten it’ll end in more frustration and heartache.

“Thoughts On” journals

Derek Sivers has a blog post from back in January on the benefits of a daily diary and topic journals and this part is something I started trying:

There are certain subjects in your life you think about a lot. People, places, hobbies, health, plans, finances.

For each subject that you might have ongoing thoughts about, start a separate “Thoughts On” journal. Whenever you have some thoughts on this subject, open up that file, write today’s date, then start writing.

I’ve started doing this in my notes app and once I see something that makes me think I open it up and start writing.

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Derek describes his thoughts on like this:

I find it so useful to keep my thoughts on each subject together, because I can see my past thoughts and current thoughts in one place. I can see how my thoughts on this subject have evolved or keep repeating. Sometimes I think I have a new thought on a subject, so I open up the file and write it down, then afterwards I see I had that same thought a year ago and had forgotten about it. If you care about your thoughts, keep them.

For me, each has been more of a rant. I see something on the internet and that enrages me so I write down all my anger. Then I’m done with it and I don’t have to think about it again. Next time you want to argue on the internet write it down and move on with life. I promise you’ll be happier.

Sleep, Glorious Sleep

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For the past month, I’ve started going to bed and waking up at set times, and it’s been amazing. Every night 10 PM is bedtime, lights out, and no talking, then every morning 6:30 AM is wakeup time. I’ve been really consistent and started using a sleep app as a way of tracking it.

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As you can see, I cheated a little over the weekend, but since starting this habit, I’ve felt the best I have in years. I’m no longer tired every day, and in need of a nap. Instead, I feel great and now that my body has acclimated at around 9:50 PM my body tells me it’s bedtime.

We all know sleep is essential but if you’ve been struggling, try going to bed and waking up the same time every day, even on the weekends. I know you’ll lose a little bit of reading or work time, but it’s worth it.

iOS Do Not Disturb While Driving

Since iOS 11 Apple introduced a featured called “do not disturb while driving” where it tries to detect when you are driving and prevent notifications. On the surface, it sounds like a great feature and I enabled in a few weeks ago thinking it would make driving safer.

What I found in practice is it’s been very annoying for me. I’m not a Siri user and when I stop at red lights I typically unluck my phone and change the music. It’s not been sensitive enough to know that I’m now stopped so every time I have to select the option, “I’m not driving” which turns the whole thing off.

I imagine if I used Siri more often, I could just use that to tell it to play something new, but as I’ve written before I have no confidence in Siri, so I don’t use it. I think “do not disturb” while driving is a useful feature and I’m all for it, but right now it isn’t really polished enough for me and feels like more of an annoyance than anything.

It’s one of those features that is so close to being perfect I want to keep it activated, but at the same time, I think I’d prefer to just turn it off and be done with it.

How about you? Is this a feature you use? Am I the one doing it wrong and it’s really a great feature? Feel free to sound off in the comments below.

Bullet Journaling

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Todo lists are my kryptonite. I’ve used them all and I’m never satisfied. I like the scheduling components of digital and how easy it is to add, move, or arrange different tasks but I also like physically writing them all out.  It’s a vicious cycle. One week I’m using Todoist, then the next I’m back to pen and paper.

One of the advantages to pen and paper that many people forget about is it creates a type of daily log book with every day outlined. I enjoy looking back on a day from a year or two ago and seeing exactly what I was working on, what I was focused on, and what my day was like. I’ve been doing that for a few months now and it works, but some tasks are falling through the cracks when I don’t complete them on the day I write them down.

That is where The Bullet Journal comes in. I have the daily log down, but I was missing the rest of the structure. The index, the monthly log, the future log, and migrations. All of those combined with the daily log create the whole process and makes it a decent system.

The book outlines all these steps (you can find this online for free), plus goes into details about the preparation, the practice, making it your own, and much more. It also makes a great desktop resource that you can quickly reference if you forgot how something is supposed to work.

This week I’ve been doing it every day and I’m feeling more focused. I spend about 20 minutes each night planning out the next day and reflecting on what I did or didn’t do on the current day.  Here is my plan from last night:

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Since I love to draw it’s also giving me a reason to pull out the colored pencils and create a daily calendar. There are so many different ways you can bullet journal and I’m finding that I like using their system as a base and then just add on to as needed. For example, if I have something on my mind, I flip to a new page and just start writing to get it out of my head. I’ve honestly been doing that a lot when I come across articles or tweets I disagree with. After writing it out I lose interest in engaging in the futile art of social media banter. Also, when I come across a quote I like I flip the page and write it down.

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All in all, it’s a pretty engaging system and if you are unhappy with how you are keeping up with your tasks give it a try. It might suit you or it might not, and to me, life is all about trying new things to see what sticks.

Vintage Instagram

Stringed Picture Hanger

For a long time, I’ve wanted one of these for my office wall. I’m not exactly sure what to call it, but it’s an excellent way for me to hang up art my kids have created and pictures that I’ve taken that I might want to share with friends and family. Even though I’ve shared most of these before on digital channels, I think there is something more personal about looking at them hanging on a wall in your home, and now I can see them every time I walk in and out of my office. Double win.

Blowing Rock

Yesterday was my 40th birthday so I took the day off work, let the kids skip school, and we headed up to the mountains of NC to visit Grandfather Mountain and walk across the swinging bridge. After our 2+ hour drive, we arrived and at the entrance, the guard said the top of the mountain included the bridge was closed for maintenance. Talk about disappointment.

We pulled out the map and found that Blowing Rock was nearby and it’s a place we’ve never visited so headed in that direction. On the way, we stopped at a few overlooks to stretch our legs and get some photos. Even though the trip didn’t go as planned it was still a lot of fun. Here are some of the photos from the trip.