These are some of the tools I’ve discovered and use regularly to make certain aspects of managing life more reliable, less brain-cell-consuming and/or more effective.
For a longer introduction to this section, I wrote this post
After doing a bunch of reading and trying a number of approaches, I settled on a somewhat modified variant of GTD implemented on top of Trello.
What’s great about Trello is that no matter where I am, it is only a few clicks away. Whether I’m at my personal workstation or a work laptop, there’s a link right in the browser toolbar. I also use a Chrome extension which allows me to easily add any page for reading later so I can stay focused on what I’m doing in the moment. And if I’m away from the computer, with Trello app on my phone’s home screen, adding a task takes one simple gesture
Trello’s interface is very simple and non-intrusive and makes it very easy to create pages with any number of columns, put cards (i.e. notes, tasks, etc) into those columns and then move them around through simple drag-and-drop.
When I got Pixel 2, I discovered that the phone came with an easily accessible news feed, just swipe left. Since Google has datamined the crap out of my life (and I’m fairly convinced Google Home is listening to everything I say and think), they know what my interests are most of the time. I’ve gotten some great leads, both for personal life and professional, to various articles that way.
However, after a while I started to feel that when I look at Google News, I’m typically reading what Google wants me to read, and I can’t say their incentives always align with my needs.
Feedly allows me to take back control of my own sources. It is easily accessible on any platform, and it allows me to subscribe to any blog site that has an RSS feed, which is just about all of them. It is also more targeted and predictable than Google News. Now, whenever I come across a blogger that has something interesting to say, I can easily make sure I never miss their posts.
Best way, IMHO, to buy Kindle books.
I’ve known for a while that Amazon likes to screw with prices of things all the time. I once watched Canon DSLR for 3+ months and its price kept oscillating by more than $50. You can save a lot of $$ if you choose to be patient but that takes time and energy.
While not helpful at reducing the time component, eReaderIQ is awesome because it brings the energy to right about zero. My entire Amazon Wishlist book list is now in eReaderIQ. Now I get notifications anytime any of the books drops in price, which happens quite frequently.
I’ve bought countless books for $2 to $5 whereas their regular price is anywhere from $10 to $15. Oftentimes Amazon will only drop the price of a book for a few days and then raise it right back up. With this tool, you never miss those anti-spikes.
Presumably building and maintaining a healthy network of other people you know can be a very useful thing to invest some of your time into.
In professional settings, humans have learned a long time ago that managing relationships with customers, suppliers and others can very quickly become a daunting, overwhelming task. Which is why Customer Relation Management (CRM) applications have been around for quite a while. PRM is the same idea but targeted specifically for your personal, rather than professional relationships.
Rather than use a dedicated app, such as Monica, I decided to implement my own solution on top of Airtable, a more generic but a rather cool product. Airtable itself is a spreadsheet-like application that can actually be used for many different things and it seems to be very polished and high quality.
Read here on how I use Airtable as a PRM if you want to learn more.
If you would rather use a dedicated PRM, while I haven’t used it extensively, I would Monica as it did come up at the top of my search efforts, before I decided to go the Airtable route.
For over a decade I’ve been making fun of my wife for using something as simple as a pen and a notebook, neither of which have any batteries and do not give off any kind of glow in the dark. It seemed crazy, given all available technology choices we have, such as smartphones and Trello!
However, since July 2018 I have kept a regular journal notebook (as of this writing, I’m on my 3rd one), and I’ve gone back to my wife and admitted that she was onto something all along.
It would take too much to capture all the benefits I’ve gotten out of a journal. At some point, this should get a link to another post but that’s in the future. In short, however, the journal is not so much about capturing/storing information as a device that helps me think and process things that are happening. There is something to be said about the connection between the mind and the hands. I rarely go back and read what I wrote, but the act of hand-writing, which in itself is rather slow, has a feedback impact on what I’m thinking and writing about.
This has become an integral part of my reflection practice.