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Dealing with Overwhelm, Using Apple Reminders for Productivity, and More

Here are the things we published this week and last. You can also stay up-to-date by following us on Twitter and RSS.

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How to be Productive with the Apple Reminders App »

How to be Productive with the Apple Reminders App

Over the next couple of months, we are going to explore how to get the most out of the Apple Stock Apps. Apple has stepped up its game with the newest iterations of their stock Apps (Notes, Calendar, Mail, Reminders…), and in this article we are going to focus on the Apple Reminders App.

If you would have said, “I only use the Apple stock apps for my tech stack” a few years ago, the nerd-productivity community would have laughed in your face. But in the past few years, Apple has made huge strides in engineering their native apps to do more. It’s no longer far-fetched to see yourself relying more on stock Apple apps.

The Ownership Matrix (What to Do When You’re Overwhelmed) »

The Ownership Matrix (What to Do When You’re Overwhelmed)

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, then perhaps you feel as though you have been given too much. In fact, you’ve been given so much that you’re to the point of feeling buried and drowning beneath a huge mass of stuff — from urgent issues, undone tasks, incoming requests of your time and energy, and more. As a result, you feel overpowered and defeated.

When you’re overwhelmed with too many priorities, it can feel impossible to find the time you need to get everything done.

Even worse is when everything is important.

How can you possibly put aside 99% of your responsibilities for a few hours in order to focus on just one thing?

I don’t know about you, but I used to feel guilty about neglecting all the other important things I wasn’t doing when I would try to focus on at least one thing that was important.

It’s nonsensical that you can work on everything all at the same time, but who says we humans are rational, sensical people?

Time Blocking Using a Custom Template on the Onyx Boox Tab Ultra »

Time Blocking Using a Custom Template on the Onyx Boox Tab Ultra

I’ve tried just about every time blocking method out there.

I’ve done it Fantastical (my calendar app of choice), followed Shawn in planning my day using GoodNotes on my iPad using a custom template, experimented with time blocking in Obsidian, even crafted my own analog bullet-journal-based hybrid productivity system.

For the past 6 months or so, I’ve been time blocking using an Onyx Boox Tab Ultra as part of my end-of-day journaling and planning routine.

In this post, I’m going to show how I set up a notebook template on my Onyx Boox for time blocking.

Setting up a “Calm Inbox” View for a Distraction Free Email »

Setting up a “Calm Inbox” View for a Distraction Free Email

Whenever I launch the Mail app on my Mac, I’m presented with a completely blank inbox (like you see above). This is not because of an Inbox Zero strategy.

Here’s a quick walkthrough for how I have my email set up with a Keyboard Maestro macro so that when I launch my email app, it takes me to a blank inbox view.

This Calm Inbox setup works using the default Mail app on macOS and a copy of Keyboard Maestro.

Startup and Shutdown Routines »

Startup and Shutdown Routines

As a young trial lawyer, an experienced, older attorney took me aside and explained what’s important about closing arguments: “The key is to nail the beginning and the ending, and anything that happens in the middle doesn’t matter so much.”

I would argue that the beginning and end of your day are equally important. Startup and shutdown routines are the way you add structure to your day. Without them, you become adrift in a sea of competing obligations. I know because I have spent too many days adrift.

At one point in my life, I found myself working harder than ever but feeling like I was accomplishing little. The implementation of startup and shutdown rituals fixed that for me. They brought order to my chaos. I want to share those with you here in hopes that you can get a little inspiration and experiment with your own startup and shutdown routines.

How to Configure Focus Modes to Eliminate Distractions and Interruptions »

How to Configure Focus Modes to Eliminate Distractions and Interruptions

I’ve been a heavy user of Do Not Disturb as a way of eliminating distractions on my Mac and iOS devices for a long time. But if you don’t want to completely block the outside world, the Focus modes feature built into macOS & iOS is surprisingly powerful. Here’s how to use this underrated feature to protect your focus and stay in the zone.

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Interesting Links From Our Friends and Around the Web »

Our Must-Have, Most Used Productivity Apps

We spend an inordinate amount of time sorting through hundreds of apps to find the very best. We put together a short list of our must-have, most-used apps for increasing productivity.

Send me the roundup »