Recently heard about this comic, when I saw that it was endorsed by Bill Watterson (of Calvin & Hobbes fame). Here’s one of the best I’ve seen so far. See also: http://www.gocomics.com/culdesac/2007/12/28
This will be my wife and me, next Thursday in Amsterdam…
Years ago, I talked in a blog post about categorizing information repositories into groups: inboxes/inputs, filing systems, and reading lists. At the time, I even talked about minimizing inputs, but I was still checking an awful lot of places to get new information. As lately as six months ago, I was still trying to maintain this huge list of inboxes: work email, personal email, Google Reader, Twitter, Instagram, and the list went on. Thankfully, my email accounts notify me on my phone and/or computer when new stuff hits my Inbox, so I wasn’t constantly checking them, but there was a lot of other stuff I was manually checking.
But I’ve been systematically paring these down. Earlier this year, I quit looking at Instagram, and I decided to whittle down Facebook to only check the updates it sent to me in email notifications, rather than just visit the site or app and scroll through new stuff. But I still had two major holdouts: RSS feeds (through Google Reader) and Twitter. I was just checking in way too much: all too often, I felt a pang of “down time” that seemed to give me license to jump in and check for new messages.
When Google announced in March that it would be shutting down Google Reader this summer, I at first didn’t change anything about my habits. But I eventually did look for a replacement, and I ended up running rss2email to send me emails whenever my feeds got updated. Cool, but Twitter was still there.
About a month ago, I stopped checking Twitter entirely. And, honestly, I’ve barely missed it. I ended up adding in a few new RSS feeds to keep up with a few Twitter people whose thoughts I value, but the flow has trickled significantly. Also, around the same time, I set my personal and work email up in the same email client (Apple Mail on both my Mac and my iPhone).
And then today, I realized: I have only one inbox now. I’m done! Email is it! I have a few filter folders to keep newsletters and mailing list discussions out of my inbox, but I’m no longer checking separate client software for two email accounts, RSS, Twitter, and a myriad of other inputs to my life. In addition, somewhere in all that time I decided to remove almost all of the games from my phone (except Spaceteam, which my wife and I enjoy together from time to time).
Let me tell you: it’s pretty awesome. I no longer feel myself frittering my life away. I just feel so much more focused than I used to be: I’m able to push harder at work, I’m doing more productive things with my life at home, and I’m dedicating more time to studying the Bible. I even took a bit of time to write this post! I’m actually producing Web content!
I know, it’s a simple lesson, and I hope most people never get to that level of time-wasting or need such drastic action, but I feel really good about it all right now.
The Swing Era 1940-1941 - How It Was To Be Young Then (1970). Nice title and book cover packaged with the box set Time-Life series of LP’s.
Cover design adapted from a 1943 photograph by Gjon Mili. Models are 17 years old stage performers Stanley Catron and Kaye Popp dancing the Lindy Hop for LIFE (Aug 23, 1943). Credits for the 1970 modern color design expressing motion unknown.
So, here it is. Let’s see if I actually use this one. All attempts in the past for me to consistently produce content have failed, but this is way simpler than that dwiki thing I hacked together. (I loved the hacking part of it, but the content creation never really happened, partly because I never got comfortable with the process of updating it.)