I have a growing family. It also happens to be growing in the middle of a revolution. As phone carrying members of the digital revolution, the information we generate each and every day is becoming a problem. Before the digital age, there was not much to worry about. Even the most prolific writer, businessman, operator could only create so much hard copy. The files containing our inner most secrets could only get so big before storage and weight became an issue. Now though, the information we gather on purpose, by mistake and through third parties multiplies each day. And it’s all kept on some drive or server somewhere. Privacy is dead, but there is a lot of value and power in consolidating and managing this sprawl to maintain sanity, manage risk, and coordinate your…well….life!
Perhaps step one is to define what is being generated, exactly. This is probably impossible to detail completely, but a good list might cover ~90% of the problem like a good wetsuit covers 90% of the body. Here is where I would start:
Look at the hardware in your life – This includes all PC’s, laptops, phones, watches, TV’s, gaming consoles, and other smart devices.
What property do you own which could generate information (cars and speeding fines, for example)
Look at the software in your life – This includes email accounts, social media accounts, app subscriptions, password management, browsers you use, tracking and privacy settings.
Look at your financial/work situation – credit cards, bank accounts, trading accounts, tax responsibilities, insurance premiums, salaries coming in, work projects, monthly expenses.
Look at your healthcare situation – memberships, premiums, chronic illnesses, children related health information, rewards programs.
If we manage to gather this list of ‘info generating stuff’ then we can work on each of the sections individually. Sound good? Good.
This is probably time consuming at first, but it is also probably very useful. Like tidying your bedroom, i think it will have obvious elements (listing your cellphones would be like the duvet on the floor which goes back on the bed) and then more detailed, less obvious stuff (delving into the direct debits from your bank account, or the points available on rewards schemes is a bit like pulling the bed from the wall and vacuuming up the dirt on the floor which is usually unseen).
Like a nuclear chain reaction (terrible Keanu Reaves movie btw!) each of these sections can probably lead down its own information rabbit hole. Just start thinking about your online passwords for example!
This concept is a work in progress – I think the trick is to make a start and treat it as a process.
I’ve had to buy a new iPhone. The old one died in a fit of convulsions. Dead battery, slow performance and broken screen – after four years it all seems to happen at once.
In setting up the new Beast, I’ve become interested in the layout and settings on my phone. In particular I’m concerned about how the default settings on an iPhone drive certain behaviours. Notifications, constant sharing of information and confinement to the Apple ecosystem are all worth considering, I feel.
“Exhaustive” is the word I’d use for the article, but I also found it fascinating. It has resulted in the below home screen for my phone which I am liking very much.
These phones are running our lives more and more. From work to social interactions. As Ben Evans says, The smartphone is the Sun in our digital solar system. Everything else revolves around the phone. This being the case, it’s worth thinking about how we set up the phone and interact with it.
I’m very easily hooked into social media Buti am trying to set up the phone to make it easier to drive more productive and healthier habits than scrolling Instagram, Twitter or WhatsApp all day.
I am slightly obsessive with productivity and the internet. I want a go-to app that will encourage my creative streak, and which helps me organise my life. After many trials and tribulations trying to find the best note taking and general productivity app out there, I have used Evernote since 2012.
It is my favourite for one main reason – the way it makes me FEEL! I want an app which makes me feel creative, engaged and in control when I sit down to try and work. I feel like I could write a novel, organise my life, and manage a project when I open up that beautiful green elephant. It is the colours, the simplicity of the interface, the kind of earthy, coffee-shop-esque vibe of the whole app that keeps me coming back.
The design of the app looks like it goes with headphones and a coffee, and it works fantastically with my other devices all synced in. It’s great as a free beginner package and it gets better with payment.
I am not a partner or earning anything from referrals, so this is pure app-joy expressed in a blog format. Take it or leave it…. (Take it….:))
If you, like me, want to harness the web and the digital world, rather then be controlled by it (ahem…Social Media!) then try out Evernote.
Sometimes my brain will flick a switch and bail out. Just like a wrestler tapping out of a choke hold, when my stresses build up and become too much, the brain seems to automatically hide from responsibility. It searches memories for simpler times and childhood. Sadness creeps in. The search for distraction and pleasure creeps in. It bails out of life. This happens quickly and quietly.
Inevitably when this happens, and when I take the time to look at my life, I will see a pattern emerging. Usually this “bail out” mindset happens when I haven’t looked after myself in one of three ways. Either I haven’t done any exercise in a while, I haven’t done anything artistic in a while, or I’m not sleeping enough. Or some combination of the three.
So yesterday my brain bailed out. So I ran in the afternoon….yes….endorphins! Then i went to bed early. Today I’ll try find some time to doodle on the guitar or work on the podcast….Yeah, the podcast I reckon.
I just watched a motivational clip which told me I had to “embrace discomfort”.
This reminded me of a friend of mine who used to have a party trick. He would order a tequila with all the lime and salt as usual. But he would do everything wrong. He’d snort the salt up his nose, squirt the lime in his eyes and then drink the liquor. He would punish himself for our amusement, but I don’t think it was worth it.
I’m going to try and wake up early and be productive tomorrow despite my desires to lie in.
I couldn’t sleep last night because of an idea. A business idea. The idea created adrenaline in my body which fueled my heart and my brain which developed the idea further which created more adrenaline! No sleep, but an idea nonetheless.
I have let a lot of ideas go by the wayside. This one I will try and develop though. That’s the hard part. An idea is easy to come up with. Making it work is a lot harder.
Or maybe it was just that I wasn’t listening – either way, I think this should change.
Who doesn’t know how to keep a calendar? This sounds ridiculous, but it has taken me about 10 years to understand how to use and trust my computer’s calendar. At school, timetables were dished out at the beginning of term, pinned up on walls and referred to by everyone else around me. I could always ask my parents, teachers, friends what was coming up and what was due. I could remember a lot (well, enough) of what was important without needing a reference. The net result is that I never developed the skills to keep my own time. I have never trusted my computer calendars until very recently.
When you start using a calendar though, they build upon themselves. The more you use them, the more dependent you are on them, and then the more you will trust and use them again. You are invested, and that makes the whole system work. In this way calendars are a great example for projects in general. If you want to get a project started, then just start. The mental buy-in is what matters. The same thing seems to apply to relationships, exercise, blogging, working a job, keeping healthy.
That is what no school ever taught me – the importance of mentally buying into a concept, and that you can train yourself to do it in order to get something done.
Seems to me, this mental trick in and of itself is one of the most useful things in the world.
Behavior trumps logic. If you want to pay off debt quickly, the maths says that it is best to attack the highest interest amount first, then work your way down to the next highest.
However, it turns out that debt payments are not a maths problem, they are a behavior problem. Therefore the opposite (attacking the smallest interest amount first, and then using the payments from that amount to pay off the next smallest etc) is the best way to change behavior and cancel debt.
Small manageable victories are always more sustainable than large sacrifices, even if they are not scientifically going to get you to your goal most efficiently.