Noisy Deadlines

100Days

  • 😊 This week just flew by! I thought about how well I'm feeling now if compared to the weeks after I got COVID back in March. My energy levels are back to pre-pandemic levels and I'm sure getting my iron infusion has helped a lot.
  • 📝 I am still not sure what got into me that I wanted to change my to-do app to Todoist. I had this plan that I would use it for 90 days to really test it out, but I couldn't stand it more than a couple of days. I think it was the whole overhead of setting it up and wanting it to behave like Nirvana. Lesson learned: it's easier to just use Nirvana than bend something else into being Nirvana-like.
  • 🔔 Still on the productivity tools arena, I realized that I was neglecting the Reminders app in iOS. Sometimes I want to set up a reminder and doing it with the Outlook Calendar is not quick and easy. But using the iOS Reminders app is way simpler!
  • 👟 Next Sunday I'll do a 10Km race “Run for Women”! And talking about running, this is my log this week:

    1. May 20 => 5.15Km

    2. May 23 => 7.15Km

    3. May 26 => 9.15 Km

  • 🎧 I listened to this Cal Newport podcast: EP. 299: OUR LOVE/HATE RELATIONSHIP WITH PERSONAL PRODUCTIVITY and in the Deep Dive segment he talks about the 20 year history with personal productivity and what were the books that captured each “trend” throughout the years. From Stephen Covey's “7 Habits of Highly Effective People”, to David Allen “Getting Things Done” to Jenny Odell's “How To Do Nothing”, among others.

  • 🎮 I'm still playing Stardew Valley very deliberately and I've made a breakthrough! I finally managed to get a furnace, to turn copper ore into copper bars and finally get a copper axe! Now I can cut down trees, expand my chicken coop, and open some areas for more crops, getting ready for my first winter. I also now have mushrooms in my cave.

  • 🧩 Made some progress on our Ancient Map puzzle! All the decorative borders are done!

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Post 08/100 of 100DaysToOffload challenge (Round 2)!

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By Noisy Deadlines Minimalist in progress, nerdy, introvert, skeptic. I don't leave without my e-reader.

This week I decided I had some time and headspace available to experiment with Todoist for my GTD (Getting Things Done) system. Why??

Back in 2019-2020, I had used Todoist and enjoyed it. But then there was a big update that altered some features and screwed up my existing setup. As a result, I explored other tools, eventually discovering NirvanaHQ (which is my current tool of choice).

I’ve tried Todoist before throughout the years, and I could never get it quite right. I know Todoist development is continually active, and I thought I could give it a go again because… well, maybe this time they’ve changed things that could work for me now? 🤷‍♀️ Also because I felt I could spend some time tinkering with the tool, which I usually enjoy.

So, I tried setting it up again. I took a look at the GTD Official Guide, sat down with my pen and paper and started to think:

  • Do I want to link projects to next actions? => Yes!
  • Ok, so I will use projects as projects and labels as contexts.
  • I want to have projects separated between Work and Personal. Ok.
  • I will have Someday-Maybe folders separate for Work and Personal. Ok.
  • I will use labels as contexts to organize my next actions. Ok.
  • I want to make sure that I don’t see actions that are in Someday-Maybe showing up in my next action lists. Ok, so I will use filters to be able to exclude items that are inactive in Someday-Maybe.
  • This is something crucial to me, because sometimes I have a project started, with labeled next actions, which then is postponed or put on hold. I want to be able to move the project to Someday-Maybe so that all of it is removed from next actions. I know I could un-label the actions, but I don’t like doing that (then when it’s active again I would have to re-label everything... not my jam).
  • I will have a “Routines” project for all recurring actions (daily. monthly checklists and reviews). Ok.

So, I set up the basic folders. I added initial labels (the typical @computer, @home, @errands, @agendas, @calls). Now it was time to set up the filters. That's when I got frustrated. I know I could set it up the way I wanted it, but the process was not as fun as I've initially imagined 😐.

I had to tweak the filters to exclude incompletable tasks and exclude subtasks from showing by themselves without their parent task (because subtasks can have their own labels in Todoist), to separate work and personal, and on and on.

I had initially thought I would incorporate the priority flags with the context’s filters (something like, P1 is priority, P2 is next, P3 is later, etc...) but THAT was me overcomplicating things! I scratched that idea.

And then I thought about a moment in the future when I wanted to add a new context, and create a filter for it, and all the hassle to have it done. Too complicated! I imagined future me wondering why the hell did I complicate things this much?

Long story short…

…the energy and disposition I thought I had to set up Todoist wasn't there anymore. I'd rather spend that time reading a book.

And when I went back to my normal day, using Nirvana as usual, I just felt this peace and calm, seeing everything organized in its place. I recognized I already have a system that JUST WORKS as it is. Is it perfect? Hell, no! But it works for me! 😊

I was also altering a previous Todoist setup I had in my account, so maybe that was the wrong approach. I should have deleted everything and started 100% from scratch. But now I don’t really want to try Todoist anymore. I am happy with what I currently have.

So that's the story of my failed experiment. I could have pushed through and had all the context filter issues sorted out? Yes, I'm sure I could have. It's not Todoist's fault. It's a great app. But just not for me at this moment in my life.

Post 07/100 of 100DaysToOffload challenge (Round 2)!

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By Noisy Deadlines Minimalist in progress, nerdy, introvert, skeptic. I don't leave without my e-reader.

  • 🏝️ I got 2 days off work and had an extra-long weekend with Monday 20th being a holiday here! 🥳 I didn’t have anything planned, I just took the time to relax and slow down. Reading, journaling, playing Stardew Valley, long walks, yoga and running. That’s about sums it up!
  • 📖 I finished reading “A Closed and Common Orbit” by Becky Chambers and I absolutely loved it! I also had lots of fun reading “Scott Pilgrim's Precious Little Life” by Bryan Lee O'Malley.
  • ✈️ We finally booked our flights to Brazil. We will travel in December, so we wanted to guarantee the best rates because we know prices will only go up from now on. Excited to go but also not too excited to be there in the high of summer (it’s going to be 40C ! ).
  • 🎒 I’ve decided to upgrade some of my daily gear: my old backpack and my wallet. I’ve been using the same for quite some time now. The wallet could easily be 20 years old, the backpack maybe 15+ years? I’m not sure. I got myself a tote bag that turns into a backpack and a wallet that has a pocket for a phone and can also turn into a mini cross-body purse. I was inspired by the upcoming trip, and I wanted to be prepared with versatile gear.
  • 📒 And talking about changes: I’m rethinking my GTD system, more specifically the app I use every day for tasks. I’m feeling less anxiety overall and I feel ready to explore other options. I want to be able to capture things more easily across my devices reducing ALL the friction. Also, I miss reminders and being able to customize a few lists. I feel I’m in a good headspace to spend time tweaking and testing with no rush.
  • 📝 So, I decided I will test out Todoist for 90 days and see how it goes. It will require some time to set it up, test it, tweak it. Nirvana gives me structure and boundaries. Todoist a highly customizable app and I feel I’m ready to dive into something less structured. I’m in an adventurous vibe now!

Post 06/100 of 100DaysToOffload challenge (Round 2)!

#100DaysToOffload #100Days #weeknotes

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By Noisy Deadlines Minimalist in progress, nerdy, introvert, skeptic. I don't leave without my e-reader.

  • 📒I stopped time blocking hour by hour with Cal Newport's planner, and I'm doing a more “focus of the day” type of planning with the Rocketbook week spread pages. I'm liking it. It gives me a different perspective. Stil testing how it goes.
  • 🚄I finally booked my train ticket to Scintillation 5 in Montreal. It’s a small literary convention where we geek out about sci-fi and fantasy, mostly.
  • 👷‍♀️I went to a job site visit with my estimating team. It’s always nice to see in full scale what we measure on paper.
  • Me and my partner went the Tulip Festival this weekend. It was an hour bike ride to get there, and it was very busy! The tulips were in full bloom, it was a nice day.
  • 🏝️I’m taking 2 days off work this week for the Victoria Day holiday. Yay!

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Post 05/100 of 100DaysToOffload challenge (Round 2)!

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By Noisy Deadlines Minimalist in progress, nerdy, introvert, skeptic. I don't leave without my e-reader.

This is a note to self about planning my day:

  • Lunch & Shutdown: Schedule the Lunch break and the Shutdown blocks.
  • Email time: Add blocks to handle emails.
  • Meeting Buffers: Insert buffer times before and after meetings for preparation and follow-up.
  • Breaks: Add breaks/snack time.
  • Check-ins: Rearrange my “Organizing” and “Check-in” blocks.
  • Work Focus Blocks: Add work blocks by context or projects
  • While I'm working on focused blocks, don't look at emails!
  • Revise plan as needed.
  • 🍵Take it slow, no need to rush!

Post 04/100 of 100DaysToOffload challenge (Round 2)!

#100DaysToOffload #100Days #Productivity #notes

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By Noisy Deadlines Minimalist in progress, nerdy, introvert, skeptic. I don't leave without my e-reader.

  • 📒I've been using my Rocketbook for a week or so now, and I'm enjoying it! I didn't like the pen that comes with it (a 0.7mm black Frixion) and got 0.5mm Frixion Synergy pens in assorted colors and I love them. I've always liked smooth paper, so it wasn't hard for me to adjust to the polyester paper.
  • ✏️After getting an executive size Rocketbook I got a letter sized one, which is bigger for planning and time blocking. I still don’t know if I want to use both at work or use one for personal notes and the other for work notes/planning. I’ll experiment more this week.
  • 📅I used my big Rocketbook to plan the month. Even though I have all the events on my digital Calendar, writing them down manually helps me become more aware and less anxious about the future. It just makes things more tangible if that makes sense.
  • 🎈I’ve been thinking about better organizing my blog ideas. I have a list in Standard Notes, but I forget to look at it. I’m thinking if I should have them in my to-do list, in a separate Areas of Focus in Nirvana. And then, how to I get down to write? I’ve been not feeling very wordy lately. Some food for thought.
  • 📺I started watching the Fallout Series on Amazon Prime. I never really played the games (I can’t remember why it was never on my radar) but the show is really good. I like the dark humour/satirical tone in it and the 50’s aesthetic.
  • 🎸Had a good time re-listening to the first Black Sabbath album from 1970 on the radio. Every Sunday night my city’s local rock station plays a classic rock album non-stop. It’s called the Sunday Night Vinyl Series. With music streaming services I spend way less time listening to full albums.

Post 03/100 of 100DaysToOffload challenge (Round 2)!

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By Noisy Deadlines Minimalist in progress, nerdy, introvert, skeptic. I don't leave without my e-reader.

  1. Bookshops & Bonedust (Legends & Lattes #0) by Travis Baldree, 339p: I loved going back to this cozy fantasy world with a younger Viv. We can see how her experiences in this book lead to her choices in the first book. Viv is injured on a fight, and she must stay in this small town to recover. She ends up making friends, helping the town people and discovered a passion for reading. I loved the bookshop being renovated! And Viv's enjoyment of romance books, it was so relatable! It's the perfect read to get out of a book slump or just have fun and relax.

  2. That Time I Got Drunk And Saved A Demon (Mead Mishaps #1) by Kimberly Lemming, 277: This was a fun read in a medieval fantasy setting with lots of humour and romance. It's funny, whimsical and can't be taken seriously. There are demons, all kinds of shape shifters and evil witches. The language is very modern and full of slang.  I gotta say that there were some violent deaths that were dissonant with the book vibes. It's not a book you read for the plot, you read it for the laughs and feel-good vibes.

  3. The Getting Things Done Workbook: 10 Moves to Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen, Brandon Hall, 224p: This was a re-read for me. I got out of the GTD wagon, and I just needed a quick workbook to get back to the basics. I realized there were some issues with my capturing habit and that I was overcomplicating things. It’s a nice GTD refresher.

  4. Slow Productivity: The Lost Art of Accomplishment Without Burnout by Cal Newport, 256p: Interesting ideas about knowledge work, and how to adopt a slower pace while doing relevant things. It's perfect for people who have lots of autonomy towards their work. I didn't feel I could use all the suggestions presented. Even though I'm a knowledge worker, I don't really have that much control over my working hours to be able to work at a natural pace or really do fewer things. I enjoyed the story about how Jane Austen got to write her books (it was NOT by writing a few words here and there in between house chores). Maybe because I've been listening to the author's podcast, I didn't find the book to be ground-breaking, and I already knew most of the stories he uses as example or inspiration to the slow productivity principles. It was not a hugely impactful book for me if compared to his previous ones.

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Post 02/100 of 100DaysToOffload challenge (Round 2)!

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By Noisy Deadlines Minimalist in progress, nerdy, introvert, skeptic. I don't leave without my e-reader.

  • 🥳The horrible COVID headaches are gone!
  • 📒I got a reusable notebook: Rocketbook Fusion and some blue and colored Pilot Frixion Synergy pens in 0.5mm. It comes with a black 0.7mm and I prefer writing in blue. I really like the feel of writing on it, it's exceptionally smooth. I haven't had much time to use it, I'll test it more in the following days.
  • ✏️I realized (not surprisingly) that handwriting makes me slow down, it's good for me! And my handwriting got worse over the years. Gotta practice more!
  • 🚲Me and my partner went for our first bike ride of the year after the winter. It was a total of 37km, I was completely exhausted after the ride but feeling great! It was 21C, perfect weather. I anticipate some post-exercise muscle pain tomorrow.
  • 📺We got 30 days of Amazon Prime (trial) and we caught up on the “The Grand Tour: Sand Job (S05 E03)“. Just fun with cars and gorgeous visuals, this time they start in Mauritania and drive all the way to Dakar in Senegal.

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Post 01/100 of 100DaysToOffload challenge (Round 2)!

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By Noisy Deadlines Minimalist in progress, nerdy, introvert, skeptic. I don't leave without my e-reader.

I have a system I've been using since 2019 for taking notes at work.

I use an Arc notebook that I got from Staples that has refillable pages. It's a customizable system, so I can remove pages and insert them elsewhere in the book by simply pulling out the sheet. It’s really nice! I’ve had the same notebook for 5 years now.

I mainly use my notebook for meeting notes, notes from calls and notes about projects I'm working on. I also like to use a Pentel Energel 0.5mm in blue as my default pen.

Everyday I open up my 8-½” x 5-½” arc notebook and insert the day:

And then for every project or meeting that I'm currently working on I add a sequence number and a title/subject and start writing. If I change focus and start working on another subject/project/meeting, I will add a sequence number with the title and continue from there.

Some of those notes will generate new next actions, which I add an asterix or arrow so that I remember to capture those into my Nirvana inbox during my shutdown routine at the end of the day.

The notebook will hold 50 pages at a time, and when they are all filled up, I pull them out, and refill the notebook with new pages that I get from Staples.

I then scan all the written pages into a PDF and save the file. At the end of the year I will have around 350-400 pages scanned. Then I recycle the paper copies.

These are all the notes from 2023:

Thinking about Reusable Notebooks

After 5+ years of doing this, I can see the amount of paper I generate! I feel bad about using that much paper, honestly. That’s not even considering the paper I use for time blocking every day, and personal notes.

I'm curious to try out a reusable notebook, so I ordered a Rocketbook!  I will try the 6” x 8.8” Fusion (Executive size, like my current notebook) because I'm super curious to see how it works! And to know if I will enjoy writing on it.

It should be delivered later today, so I will write a post about my first impressions once I’ve used it for a while.

P.S.: Wow! This is the 100th post since I started the #100DaysToOffload challenge!! 🥳

Post 100/100 of 100DaysToOffload challenge!

#100DaysToOffload #100Days #notes #GTD #Productivity

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By Noisy Deadlines Minimalist in progress, nerdy, introvert, skeptic. I don't leave without my e-reader.

  • 🤯I've been having less and less headaches since I got Covid-19 48 days ago. I think it's timely progress!
  • 🩺It's been a bit more than a month since I got the iron infusion for my anemia. I started to feel less tired this weekend, which I think is a sign it’s doing its thing. The doctor said it can take at least 3 to 4 weeks to increase the iron levels.
  • ✅I had a small crisis regarding my to-do list, but it's all good now! Crisis averted! I did some experiments only to realize I still like my current setup with Nirvana.
  • 🌹I finished a fantasy romance that was fun and silly 🙃 called “That Time I Got Drunk And Saved A Demon” by Kimberly Lemming.
  • 📖And I finally started reading “A Closed and Common Orbit” (Wayfarers #2) by Becky Chambers. It's one of those books that gets me in the first paragraphs. I don't know why I took so long to pick it up! It's really good!
  • 📖I’m also reading “Slow Productivity” by Cal Newport. Got to the part where he talks about Jane Austen’s writing routine, and how there are misconceptions about it.
  • 💪No runs outside this week, it was too windy and cold, and wet. I went to the gym instead.
  • 📺I watched the documentary “Raccoons: Survival Warriors” at Curiosity Stream. People usually hate them, I know, but they are so cute!
  • THIS IS POST # 99 !! 🥳

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Post 99/100 of 100DaysToOffload challenge!

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By Noisy Deadlines Minimalist in progress, nerdy, introvert, skeptic. I don't leave without my e-reader.