Hey <<First Name>>,
I'm trying a new time-management thing.
I'm a little bit obsessed with planning my days and trying to be as productive as possible. For years, I was a dedicated user of the Moleskine daily agenda. Then, when I was freelancing, I filled sketchbooks with to-do lists, project thumbnails, and business plans, before it go way too chaotic and I tried switching to a bullet journal method for my to-dos and keeping project plans and milestones in Asana.
Earlier this year, I simplified my process down to a daily to-do list in a crappy notebook from the office supply closet. Now that I'm working in teams, we have systems for looking at our project roadmap and sprints which means I don't need many other individual tools anymore.
However, recently I felt like I was only tracking work in my to-dos and not fun. I picked up the book Make Time by Jake Knapp and John Zeratsky (also the authors of Sprint, highly recommend!) at my library and read it on the plane and took many, many notes. The premise of Make Time is simple:
- Create one highlight every day. It can be something that is urgent, something you've been putting off for too long, or just something fun you're looking forward to. This gets you out of the "have to complete a whole to-do list or else my day is wasted" mindset.
- Once you have your Highlight, laser in on it with uninterrupted focus time.
- Take an intentional energizing break. Get up and go for a walk or quick workout; down a coffee, take a 15 min nap, wake up ready-to-go; or have a snack.
- Tomorrow, you'll reflect on yesterday's highlight, evaluate your energy and focus levels, and try again with a new highlight.
Today's highlight is to clean up all the leaves in my yard, which is something I've been putting off, but not something super-urgent. Yesterday's highlight was to get 2 more pages of my final comic for my comic class drafted. Which I sorta did. Oh, did I mention that you don't have to be perfect with this system? The whole point is just to try your best, and if something doesn't work for you or you have a few off-days, no biggie. Just start a fresh page tomorrow and iterate on what didn't work.
It sounds obvious, but making my to-do list into one thing a day for past week has been amazing for my perspective. When you go from "failing" a to-do list of 5 items every day, to "succeeding" on a to-do list of 1 item, it feels pretty good.
Recommended reading this month:
🍲Modern culinary wiz, Samin Nosrat (author of Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat and Netflix star) shares her pantry staples. I love peeking inside the home kitchens of great cooks!
🤔A great thread on giving and receiving criticism and why you shouldn't "give criticism just for criticism's sake." There's a very fine line between asking someone to give their design rationale and subjectively attacking a decision. It's hard to be on the receiving end of it sometimes.
✉️I often joke about my overly friendly email tone. I blame it on what I call "Customer Service Gabrielle" which is a holdover from my days working in retail where you could "hear the smile in my voice" when I answered the phone. These days, I can be a lot more "me" at work, but Customer Service Gabrielle still lives on in my emails.
💻Got a few hours? This list of 100 websites that shaped the world is just so great to read through!
🍎We're about to hit peak-pie-season and I'm forever obsessed with this lady's pie creations.
📉 Have we reached peak sneaker silliness? I dunno, but I still get compliments on my rose-gold Reeboks every time I wear them, even though they are pretty extra.
🌯 Have you ever had a co-worker steal your lunch from the shared fridge? I thought it was something that only happened on that day-after-thanksgiving episode of Friends ("My sandwich?! MY SANDWICH?!) but apparently, it does happen in real life! And one ambitious journalist tracked down a lunch thief for a compelling interview.
⏰How to wake up early: don't. Hard agree here.
Recommended Listening & Watching:
- Jeopardy! is on Netflix. It's the perfect snack-size show and only 19 minutes long when you cut all the commercials.
- I've been listening to The Dream, a super compelling podcast about multi-level marketing companies and pyramid schemes and their predatory/cult-like practices.
- Frontburner is the podcast I've been waiting for! It's basically the Canadian version of The Daily and I love listening to it on my walks to work.
If you read all the way to the end:
The livestream of a Norweigan train as it makes its way through the countryside is so peaceful and eerie. It makes me feel so weirdly calm.
PS: new here? Check out the archive of past newsletters!