I am back, relaxed and ready to write another edition of the newsletter. I really enjoyed my time away from working and distancing ourselves from the world. I treated this break almost like a retreat to spend more time reading and thinking. Walking the dog and taking more photos. I have been posting as part of the micro.blog photo a day challenge for August and it has been good to think about a topic for my photos and use some create flair.
For the last few weeks most people have been asking about more frequent editions of the newsletter, but I don’t think this is going to be feasible at the moment. I like having plenty of time to develop ideas to write about and collect interesting links. I then spend some time trimming these down and re-reading everything — so every other week suits me better.
In fact, I delete about as much content from the note that becomes this newsletter as I put in. So, I spend quite a bit of time thinking about posts and links, deciding what makes it in and what doesn’t. Trimming my ramblings down to a readable length takes some doing so there may be scope for two slightly smaller ones, who knows what the future will bring.
I am exploring ways to speed up my writing process and I have stumbled across the concept of morning pages recently which has boosted my creativity. Typing out around three pages (1000 – 1200 words) every morning gets my fingers moving for the day, brings some post ideas to the front of my mind and also gets some things out of my brain. So, if ever there was a time I would move to a newsletter each week it is in the near future.
Pro All The Things
On my return from holiday I bought something special, something that will allow me to work better, improve my set up and also enable me to work from home, but not always be at my desk.
Of course, I bought a MacBook Pro, and I am a little in love with the keyboard. Despite the butterfly version’s tendency to break all the time, and being a little strange to get used to, I thought it was perfectly fine. I typed out hundreds of thousands of words on it with no issues (I was one of the lucky ones), but the new old version returns to proper key switches and it is brilliant to write on.
Couple this with the improvements in my motivation, implementing some more creative practices and writing more notes, people have already noticed more posts coming out. This new laptop hasn’t caused it, but it has certainly helped.
I’m not publicly quitting the iPad again, more refraining from trying to fit a round peg in a square hole. The iPad is great for most things, but I use too many web tools not developed for anything other than a desktop browser, which is no fault of Apple. There are still a few quirks to iron out of iOS for me (Apple Notes still doesnt use CMD+K) but most of all, if I am being perfectly honest, I just feel more at home on macOS now.
My desk set up will become much slimmer, less intrusive when I am not actually working, and this thing is so powerful I can do all my design and creative work anywhere I like. We have discussed travelling a little in the next few weeks whilst still working so it is all exciting times ahead.
I have a huge fear of missing out on productivity apps. It doesn’t matter if it is something new or a service I have tried before, if someone posts about how they use things, I have to try the thing to see if it's better than what I currently have.
I try really hard to not get invested too quickly because most things revert to their previous states, but only after I have spent hours playing around with a new set up. With all that said, the excitement I felt when watching Matt Birchler’s overview of Roam Research was something I have not felt in a long time.
After hearing a bit of hype around the launch, I initially dismissed Roam as being for academic research or more in-depth writing than I needed. But Matts video showed his use of Roam for work meetings and something clicked.
I won’t go into much of what it can do here, but I now finally have a note taking service that works the same way my brain does. I have often felt trapped in traditional notes apps concept of hierarchy. With notes only able to live based on their relationships to other notes or notebooks. This is true in Roam, but no note lives just because of its relationships to others, it is fluid and complex. Making it straightforward to move between notes laterally and find the information I need.
Be warned though — it’s ridiculously expensive.
A Rallying Call To Myself
Since picking through a few ‘self-help books’ and business related topics I read through Ryan Holidays Ego is the Enemy. As many people that talk about the book note, I too spent the entire time reading it nodding along. Noticing traits in me and others that highlight how dangerous the Ego can be.
So, I sat down whilst on holiday and typed out a follow-up post about my battles with ego and my desire to keep moving forward. Highlighting my trait of often writing instructional posts that I don’t follow myself. Perhaps being overly critical to myself, but signing off in much better place than when I started.
Even though I sometimes take this ‘do as I say not as I do’ approach it can be a rallying call to myself. As much as when I write things in my morning pages advising myself what to do, it gives me something to look back on and compare to, and also myself a bit of a talking to.
Writing can often be cathartic and work in strange ways to help clear out thoughts in my head. Allowing me to deal with things and offer out a finality once I hit publish. If post like this don’t help you, they give a rallying call to myself, and that helps.
If you want to follow more links that I post, with highlights included I have started to use Pocket a lot more so you can follow along.
Before I Go
I only had one other recommendation for a newsletter to follow along, and he already has too many mentions in this week's newsletter. So, he who shall not be named has an excellent round up of art, videos, culture and interesting links each Friday. I also have to give a shout out to Nat Eliason, who I recently stumbled on thanks to Ali Abdaal. His excellent Medley newsletter which has been going 4 years is also well worth signing up to.
If you have any more suggestions, or something else you think I would like, let me know. But until then, take the very best care of yourselves and those around you.
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