Decision time

Being highly productive is mostly about making common sense decisions about how to use your time. Secret one is allocating time to making those decisions on a yearly, monthly, weekly, daily, and sometimes twice-or-more-per-day basis. Secret two is not being fooled into thinking decision making is a waste of time. Secret three is being able to realize when past decisions where wrong or when new decisions have to be made as actual events replace expected events.

Twitter update

An update on my planned iPhone absence from Twitter:

  1. I miss the positivity and information discovery in my feed
  2. I don't miss the negativity

No. 2 is winning. I know less about Donald Trump's day-to-day affairs and gun violence than I have in ages. For that, I couldn't be happier.

Dimming Twitter

Twitter Benefits: It's an unrivaled source of information and connections with people whose interests are similar to mine.

Twitter Costs: I look at it all the time.

Net value added: Negative (probably). While it's impossible to quantify what I've paid in time and attention lost, I'm highly suspicious that these costs outweigh the benefits of information discovery.

The decision: I'm deleting all Twitter apps from my iPhone, the device on which I check Twitter most often. The fact that it seemed so crazy to do so makes me even more curious how this experiment will turn out.

I am not ready to quit Twitter entirely. Just ready to evolve how I use it. I'm leaving it on my Mac and iPad(s). For now.

The last resource

As your tools and expertise asymptotically approach perfection, your resource set asymptotically reduces to time available. The value of your time approaches infinity.

To achieve greatness in any pursuit is to manage time with as much awareness and skill as humanly possible. No technological innovation will ever diminish the value of clocks and calendars. They only become more important with time.

Deliveries

Deliveries, which I discovered through Bradley Chambers's review, is an app that makes shipment tracking way easier with almost no extra effort on your part.

My favorite feature is being able to forward a shipment notification email right into their June Cloud service, which grabs the tracking information right out of the email. It can even use the order number in the initial email Amazon sends after an order—making it totally uncessary to look at any other Amazon emails that follow.

The June Cloud service is smart enough to parse emails with multiple orders, too—or parse a single order involving multiple shipments. For example, the other day I bought some Balega socks from Amazon in several colors, which weren't all available to ship at the same time. Deliveries figured that out and split it into three entries, each with their own tracking status.

Deliveries solves real, if First World, problems. Now I have to rely far less on email shipping notifications, setting manual reminders, and worrying that I might totally lose track of something I ordered—especially during the holidays. One other nice benefit: getting a notification each time something is delivered to my door step—super useful if something shows up while I'm out of town.

So much more than a desk

Check out Thomas Borowski's beautifully conditioned and practically-modified Action Office I rolltop desk. So cool. So beautiful to look at. So easy to forget that it was the precursor to the Action Office II, which accidentally sent corporate office design spiralling hellward.

For years, I've been fascinated with sociological factors that lead to the standard workplace—particularly the cubicle farms that became so prevalent by the end of the 20th century.

The cubicle, which is now in so many ways an icon of misery and corporate servitude in the United States, is an extreme perversion of Robert Propst's 1960s Action Office II concept. In fairness to Propst, he never intended for the Action Office to turn into the cubicle anymore than Mikhail Kalashnikov intended the AK-47 to become a symbol of terrorism. But sometimes that's how things work out.

By the way, if you're interested in the mid-20th century factors that created the sociological conditions necessary to rationalize the horror of things like cubicles, read The Organization Man by William H. Whyte (1957). It is an exquisitely written masterpiece.

For a more modern and more specific take on the sociology of 20th century office design, Cubed is a great and easy-to-read choice.

And probably most entertaining (and deep) of all, read Venkatesh Rao's 2009 masterpiece, The Gervais Principle, for a journey through the personality structures that coalesce around office structures situated on stacks of cubicles. Warning: this one will change you.

The Apple Watch Eight Months Later

David Sparks doesn't think the Apple Watch is going away:

I wear it every day and use it to keep up with my fitness goals, set alarms and timers, check my calendar, listen to podcasts, turn on and off the lights, get directions, text my kids, and checkoff tasks. Oh yes … I also use it to tell time. This is the most useful watch I’ve ever owned. I put it on when I wake up in the morning and take it off when I go to bed. (That’s right, I even keep it on while I’m in my pajamas.)

I'm glad I'm not the only one. One other worth mentioning: it's the most useful weather checker ever devised.

Dropzone

Dropzone is the best Mac app I discovered in 2015. It works like the "drop stack" feature in Path Finder, but it's available in the menu bar. I use it every day to gather files to attach to emails, open PDFs in specific apps, and more.