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As someone who basically writes for a living, I find it very important to have undistracted time to actually do the work — the writing. This may seem obvious, but just because the time itself is set aside in my schedule or during my day, that doesn’t always mean that it’s going to be productive time. Being able to focus for an extended period of time without any distractions is actually becoming a very rare skill. This means that if it’s something you can figure out how to do, it actually can be to your competitive advantage.
Of all the things you can do to make your inbox more calm, the biggest thing BY FAR is to eliminate what I call the Just Checks.
The Just Checks are all the times when you’re not quite sure what to do, so you reach for your phone to “just check” social media. Or “just check” your messages. Or “just check” your email.
You don’t really have anything specific you need to do, you just have a few moments to fill, so you’re magnetically pulled towards the screen in your pocket. That’s a just check.
My biggest pet peeve in life are people who are checking their phones when at a stop light. Seriously??
The problem is that these “just checks” can become an actual addiction. I call it inbox addiction.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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👉 Step #1: The Distraction Detox → Discover how to manage the daily onslaught of notifications, overflowing inboxes, and false urgency that drain your focus.
👉 Step #2: Find Your Flow → Develop a process for quickly getting “in the zone” so you can go from random acts of busywork to consistent daily progress.
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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.