Hello from the FLX

Hello from the FLX

Tell us who you are and what you do.

My name is Nathaniel Mott. I write, and sometimes edit, things for a variety of publications whenever I’m not raising my son. But I’d love to experiment with other forms of media–especially podcasting–and recently started my own business to allow me to explore various projects that interest me. Oh, and “FLX” is some trendy nickname people are trying to apply to the Finger Lakes. I like it because that way I don’t have to think about the Jim Carrey bit from The Office where he mentions the area.

How did you first get into the productivity world?

I’m pretty sure it started because I listened to You Look Nice Today. Then I watched Adam Lisagor’s ad spot for Flow (which has dramatically changed since then) and thought it looked cool. After that I heard about Back to Work, went through a lot of Merlin Mann’s stuff in a way that wasn’t nearly as creepy as that just sounded, heard about Getting Things Done, and disappeared down the rabbit hole. Since then I’ve had an on-again off-again relationship with being mindful about my productivity.

How did you find the Guild?

I think I heard about it on Mac Power Users? Maybe? Then I saw Justin’s recent OmniFocus video recommended on YouTube, heard about the forum, and checked out Process just in time to hear about the trial pro membership.

What’s one thing you’ve learned that has impacted you most?

It’s hard to pinpoint. Recently I would say that it’s been the Stoic concept of a “reserve clause,” which essentially boils down to adding “…fate permitting” whenever I’m making plans. My task manager can often be a great source of anxiety when I’m having other issues, and even when I’m not, the reality is that a newborn child is essentially a personification of both Fate and Chaos. Remembering the reserve clause helps me feel okay with not beating myself up if I couldn’t get something done.

If we aren’t limiting it to productivity, it would be the value of conversations. I can’t recommend this video enough: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-iOr-Z_qNAo (I left the link exposed instead of offering the title just in case someone’s wary of tapping something on a mobile browser where they can’t hover. It’s Celeste Headlee’s “Ten Ways to Have a Better Conversation” from the Reach conference that VitalSmarts uploaded in March.) Since watching it I’ve started having weekly calls with many of the people I care about, and it’s been revelatory. I’m planning to write about it at some point because I think it’s fascinating and important.


Welcome to the Guild!

Oh gosh, I wished I could have the ability to control my date regardless of fate… sigh. I’m learning to go with the flow nowadays. Life happens…

Yes, that is so important. I have a couple of books on Emotional Intelligence that I’ve been meaning to get to. I wonder how that fits in with your observation?

A long time ago, I worked in a dysfunctional college office environment. Many professors had brilliant scientific work but they just didn’t play nice with others. I thought that the environment reminded me of a 3rd grade playground with bullies and kids who were still trying to learn about the social aspects of life. These grownups couldn’t get along with various factions competing for grants and funding. They couldn’t have a conversation to save their lives. Social skills are also an important part of productivity. Thanks for bringing this up! Love to hear more of your observations in the Guild!

Look forward to reading it in the future!

Welcome. I grew up in the Finger Lakes region (Silicon Valley based now).

+1 for pretty much anything the Stoics said

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Woohoo! Let me know if you need any help with the podcasting stuff. I just went through it so it’s fresh.

There are a lot of Mann crushes around here it seems :smiley: He was pretty influential in my first years of becoming a productivity nerd.

This is good! Honestly I think that relates to productivity in that:

  1. You’re investing in relationships that matter to you
  2. Conversation always trend toward sparking clarity and better ideas about ourselves, our lives, and so much more.

All in all, welcome @nmott! We’re glad to have you here.

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I’d love any general advice you have on the podcasting end. I have much of the equipment from when I got into PC gaming and toyed around with making videos with some friends. My primary issue at the moment is finding someone to make it with–I don’t think I’m nearly interesting enough to do a solo podcast–or figuring out the logistics of an interview series. But it’s not immediately pressing; I’m planning to start exploring podcasting in earnest when I have some more time for work this summer.


I’d say whenever you want to chat, shoot me a PM. I’d be happy to help.