Life Hacking August 2019

Life Hacking August 2019

Aug 12, 2019    

I can get a bit extra with my life hacks and organization. I’m in the middle of a “get my life together” month of dieting and applying some discipline into goal tracking and get-sh*t-done attitude. I find I have to do it every few years. Here are things I started doing in around August 2019 to help me hit my goals in 2019.

Integrate a single TODO system

TODOist screenshot
Everything in one place

I’m doing less work travel, but my productivity has not keept up with all the initiatives being started at work. At home I wanted to make a bigger contribution to upkeep. Being consistent and doing things without being asked is the only way I’m going to get my home to a 50/50 split of the domestic-labor.

My paper bullet-journals (I had two, a weekly for home and a daily for work) were not cutting it. 2019 was the time to switch back to TODOist, for daily productivity and reminders. The ability to forward-cast a reminder or set up a reoccurring chore has been a big deal for me that the paper process wasn’t handling well.

I used TODOist in past years, but the integration improvements have made it shine this time around. Here’s what I have rigged:

  • Google Home Assistant –> TODOist : I can say “Hey Google, remind me to [X] just about anywhere in the house or from the Google Assitant app in my phone and get a reasonable transcription of new tasks. I use this a lot when doing laundry or other tasks where my hands are occupied. Having a voice assistant with my todo app has been a game-changer.
  • Gmail –> TODOist : I no longer use existence in my Inbox or a starring system to indicate that something is a TODO. This just wasn’t working as it became yet another place TODO’s lived. The Gmail plugin for TODOist is excellent.
  • Slack –> TODOist : I get told to do things all the dang time. The problem is that Slack is a river. Once something scrolls up past my window, there is no way I’m ever getting back to it. Starring and other in-slack solutions just create “yet another place for TODOs” to accumulate. Slack has TOODist integration. We’ll see if this helps.

Because I categorize my TODOs, I’m getting productivity diagrams telling me how many TODOs I clear a day and each week. Not sure how much I need these but it’s a good feature.

Soft-quit social media

Social media folder on my phone
The social media folder on my phone

Tumblr, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram … these were apps I used quite a bit in 2012. Now in 2019 they are distractions. Facebook has done nothing to earn my loyalty as a social platform. Facebook has become all about local groups for me rather than personal connections or keeping up with posts from friends. I was able to migrate all blog-like posts from my Tumblr, so that’s dead. Twitter has been weaponized and brings me no joy. I do not subscribe to KonMari but for Twitter I’ll make an exception. I still love Instagram, but found that I was checking it far too often. Social media is a difficult thing to delete when you still have some network-effect connections you want to maintain. Here’s where I’ve gotten to:

  • Tumblr:
  1. Finally deleted my account
  • Twitter:
  1. Deleted my entire tweet history (who cares).
  2. Signed out from all mobile use.
  3. I use a website blocker to reduce my usage on all desktop browsers.
  • Facebook: This is the tough one. I want to quit but don’t want to delete my account.  
    1. “Unfollow” but don’t “unfriend” everyone I know. This kills the echo chamber of the Facebook news feed.
    2. “Unfollow” every group isn’t one of the local groups for which I stay on the platform. I can catch up on interest groups on weekends.
    3. Uninstall the app from all my mobile devices. I still have Facebook messenger as I find some of my friends still prefer it when chatting with me. Nothing wrong with that.
    4. Use a website blocker to reduce my usage on all desktop browsers.
  • Instagram:
  1. uninstall from all mobile devices. This is probably a temporary thing, but I need to cut back. With the changes above, Instagram was becoming my replacement for Facebook wall scrolling.

Integrate meal planning and calorie tracking

I ordered too much Uber Eats last year and this year. Ramen and Pho are delicious, but they have became too convenient of a comfort food for my health. God bless my computer-savvy wife and her willingness to pick a single place to put all the recipes we cook for eachother.

Paprika Holds all our recipes

Ally and I switched from meal planning a whiteboard to meal planning in the calendar feature of Paprika. Paprika is an excellent iOS and Mac recipe app that allows data syncing and website scraping. With a single source of truth established, I can cut and paste the ingredient lists into MyFitnessPal to generate the data I need to track my calorie intake, as a result I have meal planning and the nutrition side of my diet handled.