When Failing Wins

At the suggestion of a friend and loyal Guild member, I’ll start posting my weekly newsletters here in the #newsletters category. If you want these in your email, you can sign up here.

Sometimes I have the best of intentions but fail to execute. And when the time comes to execute, my intentions and expectations are far from met.

That’s exactly what happened over Thanksgiving break. I was planning to work on my own projects, get caught up on podcasts, kick out my newsletter, and more. The trouble came when I realized my early morning time (the time I expected to use for this) was spent catching up with family members that I didn’t realize had become early risers. So coffee and conversations took precedence over writing and editing.

I suppose that’s the nature of time management at its core. A new task reveals itself and you need to make a judgment call in the moment about whether or not it is either more important or has an earlier deadline than the task you were initially working on.

In my case, the new task (catching up with family) was dubbed more important than the initial task (writing this newsletter).

But at the same time, this unexpected delay in the newsletter gives me a chance to complete a goal I’ve had on the back burner for a while. I’ve wanted to shift the newsletter to a Monday release schedule but my habits needed to be altered to allow it. Having a whole week of thrown off habits gave me the opportunity to reset some of my daily routines and shift my habits around a bit.

So in the future, you can expect this email to land on Monday mornings. That way it can be a true collection of everything from last week.

Moral of the story: sometimes failures are positives in disguise.

What I’m reading

Algorithms to Live By Brian Christian and Tom Griffiths
It kind of pains me to admit that I’m still working on this one. I should wrap it up today and get my thoughts posted on the Guild either this afternoon or tomorrow morning.


WTW - 13: Decreasing in Searchability, Increasing in Awesomeness
Joe continues delving into the world of podcasting equipment, Drew continues to delve into the world of paper. More conversation on switching from digital to analog tools, and the many uses of whiteboards.

Books added to the list

When I’m not reading books, I’m also not reading email. And when those two are out of commission, I don’t pick up a lot of new reads for the list. So nothing cropped up that made the list this week.

Interesting Productivity Guild topics

Since my mornings weren’t able to be used as I had hoped, I didn’t get a chance to post on the Guild at all. And it seems most folks were in the same boat. So no new topics to point out this week.

Words That Challenge

The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right
I’ve been a proponent of checklists for a long time, but if I level with myself I realize I’ve been struggling to stick with my own lists. It’s the simple ones like a morning and evening routine or my simple Daily Review list. I keep thinking I have a lot to do and don’t get to them. When the reality is that those lists are what keep me running at my best.

The da Vinci Pause - Study Hacks - Cal Newport
One of the most difficult tasks for me to take on is no task at all. It’s the lack of a task. I’ve been talking about absence and enjoying blank spaces on Whims but that’s not an easy thing for me to do. It feels like a waste of time. But it seems even da Vinci had to pause once in a while. It’s something I need to continue to give importance but at the same time, I need to make time for it.


Bear - Over my break, I took the time to transfer ALL of my Someday/Maybe lists into Bear. The next step at this point is to set up Drafts for adding to each of these lists automatically. I know the URL syntax I need to do it but I haven’t taken the time to complete that part of the process.

This book was a tough read but there were certain parts that held my interest. I’m still about 60 pages from the end so I’m slogging through this one myself.

Yeah, checklists are great but if they’re not in front of me, I’ll definitely shrug them off. That’s why I had my OmniFocus perspectives arranged with the planning perspectives located on my top toolbar and my doing perspectives in my left sidebar.

I also have to print out my checklists and have them on a clipboard ready to use. It’s easier to look at that physical page over referring to an OmniOutliner window or an OmniFocus perspective.

Kinda hard for me to do this one. Our society has been so in-grained into thinking “become more efficient so that we can do even more.” I think that’s part of why I enjoy living on a far-away island - less signal, less noise.