Also, we have a weekly email newsletter that sums up all the new and cool things published to the site. If you like to stay up-to-date via email, then you should sign up here.
Productivity training has matured significantly over the past 15 years.
We began with an emphasis on efficiency. Then, we began to ask the question about how to use that efficiency to free up time in our day. Now we are realizing that using that extra time to do meaningful work is a skill in and of itself.
In short, third-wave productivity has nothing to do with artisanal to-do list apps.
A little while back, I had the honor of interviewing Cal Newport about his book, Deep Work. While there is a lot in our conversation that I’d love to get into, it will have to wait for another time. Today, I wanted to pull out one segment where Cal and I talked about the Three Waves of Productivity.
Side Note: I put together all my book notes from Deep Work and also combined those notes with all the key takeaways and highlights from my interview with Cal Newport. You can download the in-depth notes here.
There are two very distinct periods to my year: tax season and not-tax season. The not-tax-season season continues to get more busy, but there’s still quite a drop off from the prior high-stress period of the year. With each passing deadline between April 30th, June 15th, and June 30th, the demands of the season progressively subside.
Like most people, I tend to revisit my systems during the less stressful periods of the year. Creativity returns over the summer, system failures are addressed, and new habits are adopted. Coincidentally, nearly all my annual app subscriptions renew between August and October of each year.
On the other hand, the veil of less intensity hangs over the non-tax-season season. This often tricks me into thinking I can do more during my busy seasons than I actually can.
When it comes to productivity and focus, I have a secret weapon — a book that I never see anyone talking about.
Now, I know not everyone is a nerd about planning, scheduling, and setting goals, but there is a book by J.D. Meier that’s just fantastic.
It’s called Getting Results the Agile Way. (It’s free on KindleUnlimited, but since it’s more of a workbook I recommend getting the paperback.)
This book is jam-packed with ideas and practical systems for helping you manage your time and priorities. I first went through this book nearly five years ago, and it had a significant impact on the time management system I use today and on which I based The Focus Course.
I love me some Obsidian, but one of Obsidian’s weak spots has always been it’s Shortcuts support (or lack thereof).
That’s where Actions for Obsidian comes in.
Actions for Obsidian serves as the bridge between Obsidian and Shortcuts on the Mac, resulting in almost native support for Shortcuts actions that allow you to do some pretty neat things with the text you send to Obsidian.
To call Actions for Obsidian an app is a bit of a stretch. It’s a macOS utility that serves as a graphic interface for adding over 30 additional actions to Shortcuts that Obsidian doesn’t support out of the box. It also includes a tutorial for setting up Obsidian to take advantage of them, and gives you a link to an Actions & Workflow Library where you can download some pre-made example Shortcuts workflows to download and use instantly.
When you first launch the “app” you get a window with three options: 1) link your Obsidian vault, 2) open the Shortcuts app to use the actions, and 3) visit the Actions & Workflow Library to download pre-made workflows.
If you’ve been around here at all, it’s no surprise to you that I am excited about Notion’s newest update to the button feature. As soon as it came out, I was already trying to figure out how to create Notion buttons to help automate my workflow and the workflow of my teammates.
Previously, Notion’s button feature was, well, pretty lame. I didn’t even bother using them. They weren’t worth the effort. But now with their latest update, you can add new tasks to your task database, change properties on different pages, create an actually helpful quick capture feature and more with just the click of a button.
A couple of months ago, we were in a Blanc Media staff meeting and we were talking about one of our resources, an e-book called Procrastinator’s Guide to Progress. And I asked, “Do we have a central place to easily find all of our resources with source files and links?” Well, the answer was…. “um, I don’t think so”. So then I had the idea to track down all of our resources, PDFs, slide decks etc. and drop them into one place. So our Master Resource Database in Notion was born.
Just for a little bit of context, The Sweet Setup and The Focus Course have been around for a minute. Shawn has created dozens of PDFs, courses, and e-books and hosted even more webinars and workshops. We have A LOT of content floating around in the ether. So I wanted to create a place where we could easily access and share it without digging around our site for 20 minutes.
🚀 Upgrade: Boost Your Habits
Introducing the new Focus Boosters.
Inside our popular community membership, join us for a the Habit Building challenge (a.k.a. “Booster”). You’ll find out how to make simple changes that will make your daily life better, remove distractions, and create a new simple habit.
Membership Includes: Simple Habits Course, Habit Tracking Templates, Digital Planner, Private Community Slack, 2x Monthly Coaching Calls, and much, much more…
Interesting Links From Our Friends and Around the Web »
- (Upgrade) #463: Respect the Tripod
- (Six Colors) WWDC 2023: More responsive iOS camera apps
- (MacStories) Tears of the Kingdom Travel Guide Is the Ideal iPhone and iPad App to Keep Track of Your Zelda Adventures
- (Automators) #130: WWDC Reactions
- (9to5Mac) 15-inch MacBook Air hands-on: My dreams have finally come true
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.