Info Mantra—Infomagical day 5

56b3d54a60c1c8686798625aAfter being tasked to come up with a personal information consumption rule by the final Note to Self mini-episode in the Infomagical project, I’m basing my guideline off of the “Best Friend Question” in Dan and Chip Heath’s amazing book Decisive. The BFQ is basically a decision-making strategy that pushes you to gain some distance from your dilemma by asking the question

What would I tell my best friend to do in this situation?

Drawing upon this, Continue reading

No News—unless it pertains to a goal; Infomagical day 3

Creative_smallWell, looks like I won’t be reading The Verge today.

Infomagical challenge 3 is all about intentional information consumption; time to whole-hog preempt the temptation to mindlessly click from tidbit to tidbit of news. In addition to pushing me to further restrict my information diettoday’s mini-episode of Note To Self offers a fascinating glimpse at 13th-century strategies for coping with information overload. Nice to find out that some of our information wrangling methods are tried-and-truer than I had thought.

Here’s a bit of news that I will be checking out as these items do pertain to my goal of being focused on creativity:

Thanks for the new homescreen! Infomagical, day 2

IMG_6430Moments after unlocking my phone can feel like those times I walk into the kitchen and think, “Why am I here again?” Maybe those moments will now be a thing of the past, at least for today.

This screenshot vouches for my commitment to Infomagical Challenge 2: app tidying.

Will I get irritated by the additional swipes and taps now needed to launch apps? Will I be frantically digitally groping for transit info after unlocking my phone as my commute commences? Will I just absolutely love how intentionally I must now use my phone? Will this be instrumental in building that monochronic work behavior Infomagical Challenge 1 considered? Time to find out.

New Applications For The Age-Old Zen Garden? Infomagical Gets Into Gear Today

image-56a116a8cc273-defaultTime for some serious monotasking.

Today’s Note To Self podcast mini-episode starts a week-long social social science experiment by instructing participants to live life at the speed of one thing at a time—to be monochronic if we must get technical about this. With this charge to be single-minded in today’s activities, it’s time to do whatever it takes to keep focused on what’s at hand—time to use an email auto-reply, turn on do not disturb mode, take off the smartwatch, work in wifi-free zones, maybe even set up a mini Zen rock garden. Should make for some good opportunities to do some deep work.

Tech I Have Known and Loved

This photo was only taken a few years ago, and everything here already looks (even more) ancient, except maybe the MacBook Air. Even so, they look incredibly even intimately familiar, in the way a CRAY-2 never would, immediately recognizable as portable, personal computing. It’s obvious yet still noteworthy that the laptop form factor is still largely the same as it was a couple decades ago, still a screen and keyboard+trackpad united by a hinge.


We can easily mentally update this image; we know what would sit on this desk to the right of the MacBook Air in this lineage of personal computing. We’ve got the new MacBook and MacBook Pro models and most recently the iPad Pro, and those still look much like these ancestors that came before them. Are future iterations of being productive with personal technology just going to be thinner, lighter, more powerful renditions of the laptop and tablet form factors?

Early Adopter Chronicles: the Apple Watch

I got it for focus, not fecundity of features.

All I do with it is check the time, weather, my physical (in)activity, reminders (with Clear or Fantastical; there’s no Apple reminders app—yet?). Occasionally it’ll alert me when VIP emails or messages have come in. Even more occasionally, I’ll Apple Pay for juice at Whole Foods. When I’d like some musical accompaniment for my jogs, I’ll play music from the watch through bluetooth headphones. That’s it.
Apple Watch, hot or not?
And that’s great. It has really cut down my screen time, reducing it from an average of an hour a day to just over 20 minutes per day (as measured by Moment), allowing me to dedicate more focus to tasks at hand. Were I to use my iPhone for the tasks above, all too soon, I’d be lost in the wealth of apps and possibilities that just unlocking my iPhone and launching one app exposes me to. If one of the main goals of the Apple Watch is to limit distraction, it’s working. Sure, it’s tech to deal with tech, but I love it. I’m curious to see if it continues to keep me simultaneously connected and focused with watchOS 2.

I already feel weird not wearing this thing.