Slower Days and Strategies For Busy Days
29 May 2024 | 2:44 pm

I'm enjoying some slower days at work. There has been only one big procurement project with tight deadlines to deliver a budget. All the other budgets I've been working on are for internal projects, buildings that are already under construction and the deadlines can be easily negotiated. I can allocate enough time to deliver all those budgets comfortably.

This is very unusual! And I'm loving this phase! 🌟

It feels like I'm back in the early 2000's when things overall ran at a slower pace. I remember my first job in a construction company: I didn't have a work mobile phone, the only way to directly contact me at work was via the land line at my desk or in person. I had a computer with internet access, but it was slow and mostly used for checking and sending a few emails. The volume of emails was very manageable, nothing compared to what we have today. I worked on one thing at a time.

Right now, I have plenty of time to plan my day, plan my week, plan my month without feeling I should be tackling my to-do list right away. It’s a refreshing and unique experience: I find my workload to be perfectly manageable.

I like it this way. This situation reminds me of the emerging trend in productivity: slowing down intentionally. I love the ideas described in “Slow Productivity” by Cal Newport and “Essentialism” by Greg McKeown, but I recognize that not all work environments allow us to fully implement these ideas. These strategies require a good amount of agency and independence over our workloads.

Despite the obvious challenges of my fast-paced work environment, I'm still convinced I can introduce minor adjustments to my schedule to make it more manageable.

As I said, it's been easy-going these past few weeks, but I know that when things get crazy busy again, I have these tools at my disposal:

  • GTD: The GTD framework helps me a lot to make sense of all the “stuff” that comes my way. I use it all the time and when times get tough, it's even more valuable.
  • Time Blocking: Finding those small pockets of time for reflection and prioritization (Plan the Day in the morning and doing a Shutdown Routine at the end of the day)
  • Short breaks: Using brief moments to breathe, grab a snack or stretch and quick recharge my mental batteries.
  • Pomodoro Technique: For when I need deep focus. The ticking timer becomes my companion, urging me forward.
  • Remember to Write Down Things: Capture, Capture, Capture! Reduces mental clutter (see GTD above).
  • Weekly Review: Another GTD practice that helps turn chaos into order. It’s essential!

As much as I'm enjoying these calm waters at work, I know it won't last forever. The storm will return: the urgent emails, the deadlines, the unexpected crises. But I feel equipped to deal with whatever comes.

Post 09/100 of 100DaysToOffload challenge (Round 2)!

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By Noisy Deadlines Minimalist in progress, nerdy, introvert, skeptic. I don't leave without my e-reader.

Week Notes – May 20 to May 26
27 May 2024 | 1:17 am

  • 😊 This week just flew by! I thought about how well I'm feeling now if compared to the weeks after I got COVID back in March. My energy levels are back to pre-pandemic levels and I'm sure getting my iron infusion has helped a lot.
  • 📝 I am still not sure what got into me that I wanted to change my to-do app to Todoist. I had this plan that I would use it for 90 days to really test it out, but I couldn't stand it more than a couple of days. I think it was the whole overhead of setting it up and wanting it to behave like Nirvana. Lesson learned: it's easier to just use Nirvana than bend something else into being Nirvana-like.
  • 🔔 Still on the productivity tools arena, I realized that I was neglecting the Reminders app in iOS. Sometimes I want to set up a reminder and doing it with the Outlook Calendar is not quick and easy. But using the iOS Reminders app is way simpler!
  • 👟 Next Sunday I'll do a 10Km race “Run for Women”! And talking about running, this is my log this week:

    1. May 20 => 5.15Km

    2. May 23 => 7.15Km

    3. May 26 => 9.15 Km

  • 🎧 I listened to this Cal Newport podcast: EP. 299: OUR LOVE/HATE RELATIONSHIP WITH PERSONAL PRODUCTIVITY and in the Deep Dive segment he talks about the 20-year personal productivity history and what were the books that captured each “trend” throughout the years. From Stephen Covey's “7 Habits of Highly Effective People”, to David Allen’s “Getting Things Done” to Jenny Odell's “How To Do Nothing”, among others.

  • 🎮 I'm still playing Stardew Valley very deliberately and I've made a breakthrough! I finally managed to get a furnace, to turn copper ore into copper bars and finally get a copper axe! Now I can cut down trees, expand my chicken coop, and open some areas for more crops, getting ready for my first winter. I also now have mushrooms in my cave.

  • 🧩 Made some progress on our Ancient Map puzzle! All the decorative borders are done!


Post 08/100 of 100DaysToOffload challenge (Round 2)!

#100DaysToOffload #100Days #weeknotes

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By Noisy Deadlines Minimalist in progress, nerdy, introvert, skeptic. I don't leave without my e-reader.

Failed experiment with Todoist
24 May 2024 | 3:48 pm

This week I decided I had some time and headspace available to experiment with Todoist for my GTD (Getting Things Done) system. Why??

Back in 2019-2020, I had used Todoist and enjoyed it. But then there was a big update that altered some features and screwed up my existing setup. As a result, I explored other tools, eventually discovering NirvanaHQ (which is my current tool of choice).

I’ve tried Todoist before throughout the years, and I could never get it quite right. I know Todoist development is continually active, and I thought I could give it a go again because… well, maybe this time they’ve changed things that could work for me now? 🤷‍♀️ Also because I felt I could spend some time tinkering with the tool, which I usually enjoy.

So, I tried setting it up again. I took a look at the GTD Official Guide, sat down with my pen and paper and started to think:

  • Do I want to link projects to next actions? => Yes!
  • Ok, so I will use projects as projects and labels as contexts.
  • I want to have projects separated between Work and Personal. Ok.
  • I will have Someday-Maybe folders separate for Work and Personal. Ok.
  • I will use labels as contexts to organize my next actions. Ok.
  • I want to make sure that I don’t see actions that are in Someday-Maybe showing up in my next action lists. Ok, so I will use filters to be able to exclude items that are inactive in Someday-Maybe.
  • This is something crucial to me, because sometimes I have a project started, with labeled next actions, which then is postponed or put on hold. I want to be able to move the project to Someday-Maybe so that all of it is removed from next actions. I know I could un-label the actions, but I don’t like doing that (then when it’s active again I would have to re-label everything... not my jam).
  • I will have a “Routines” project for all recurring actions (daily. monthly checklists and reviews). Ok.

So, I set up the basic folders. I added initial labels (the typical @computer, @home, @errands, @agendas, @calls). Now it was time to set up the filters. That's when I got frustrated. I know I could set it up the way I wanted it, but the process was not as fun as I've initially imagined 😐.

I had to tweak the filters to exclude incompletable tasks and exclude subtasks from showing by themselves without their parent task (because subtasks can have their own labels in Todoist), to separate work and personal, and on and on.

I had initially thought I would incorporate the priority flags with the context’s filters (something like, P1 is priority, P2 is next, P3 is later, etc...) but THAT was me overcomplicating things! I scratched that idea.

And then I thought about a moment in the future when I wanted to add a new context, and create a filter for it, and all the hassle to have it done. Too complicated! I imagined future me wondering why the hell did I complicate things this much?

Long story short…

…the energy and disposition I thought I had to set up Todoist wasn't there anymore. I'd rather spend that time reading a book.

And when I went back to my normal day, using Nirvana as usual, I just felt this peace and calm, seeing everything organized in its place. I recognized I already have a system that JUST WORKS as it is. Is it perfect? Hell, no! But it works for me! 😊

I was also altering a previous Todoist setup I had in my account, so maybe that was the wrong approach. I should have deleted everything and started 100% from scratch. But now I don’t really want to try Todoist anymore. I am happy with what I currently have.

So that's the story of my failed experiment. I could have pushed through and had all the context filter issues sorted out? Yes, I'm sure I could have. It's not Todoist's fault. It's a great app. But just not for me at this moment in my life.

Post 07/100 of 100DaysToOffload challenge (Round 2)!

#100DaysToOffload #100Days #Productivity #apps #GTD #Todoist

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By Noisy Deadlines Minimalist in progress, nerdy, introvert, skeptic. I don't leave without my e-reader.

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