Slosh flush swear

It’s one of those days where you’re in the bathroom at work because you need a private place to scroll through Indeed because dear God there has to be another job out there, I’ll clear tables, mop floors, sell angel dust door-to-door HELP ME.

There’s a knock and the voice on the other side asks if we are going to unclog that toilet in the next bathroom, and by “we” they mean “Come out of there and get the plunger because there’s no way in hell I’M going to do it.”

All of this is at 8:09 AM. Well before you’ve discovered the chipmunk that’s dying in the custodial closet.

You put Indeed away. It’s all line cooks and RNs anyway, neither of which you can do with out A.) giving someone food poisoning or B.) involuntary manslaughter. After searching for the “good” plunger — depressing because you have a favorite plunger — you initiate the ritual:

slosh, slosh, slosh, slosh, cross fingers, flush, swear audibly, slosh slosh, slosh.

Flush again. It works. A sense of victory soaks your whole being.

Then your phone beeps and after washing your hands so thoroughly it’s like you’re in Silkwood, your high school freshman daughter sends you this via Snapchat:

Bad day averted, that kid is amazing, for some reason she loves me, so give me that plunger and I’ll go to town every freaking day because she. is. awesome.

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Make a super-simple daily schedule that works

When Aaron and I were doing the Home Work podcast, we preached about the importance and benefits of having — and sticking to — a daily routine, or schedule. At the risk of beating a dead horse I’ll reiterate here: it really is tremendously helpful to know what you’re doing and when. A predictable work/productivity schedule provides focus, direction, and eliminates the overwhem of “Where do I start?”

Humans will almost always take the path of least resistance, and that applies to forming new habits. I want to make this as easy as possible. Here’s a bare-bones way to get a “beginner’s routine” in place and, more importantly, into practice.* Follow these very simple steps:

  1. Write down your do-or-die tasks. These are the things you simply may not skip, ignore other otherwise fail to complete. Exclude the items that can slide for a day or two.
  2. Consider deadlines. What is due when? Make a note of each.
  3. Consider the time and effort each task requires. Again, make a note.

When that’s done, it’s time to sort. On a new piece of paper, write Monday through Friday. Now, using the annoted list you just created, plug in those tasks. Pay attention as you write: If something is due on Wednesday, for example, and it takes a lot of time and effort, schedule work to begin on Monday or Sunday. If a task requires little mental muscle, add it to a day with a few other similar tasks to take advantage of chunking. Have you assigned each task to a certain day? Great. Now on to the very last step.

Write it down where you know you’ll see it, every day. For me, that’s Google Keep. I don’t care what service or product you use, as long as you know for a fact that you’ll look at your new schedule daily.

I’ve been doing this for months now (yes, that’s my actual schedule pictured above) and it has been great. I’m weeks ahead on all of those tasks and I feel completley on top of it. Again, you can go much deeper into managing your time, but if  you’re currently struggling or working without such a plan, the steps outlined here will help you foster a very helpful and lasting habit of productivity.

*For a much deeper dive into this, check out Mike Vardy over at Productivityist.

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Unpair Apple Watch before handing down an iPhone

On September 12 Apple will hold a press event to, most likely, introduce the next iteration of the iPhone. Shortly thereafter, people will ponder giving their current phone to a friend or family member, to make room for Cuptertino’s newest and shiniest.

What about Apple Watch?

A quick Google search will bring you to countless articles on prepping an iPhone for transfer to a new owner, but I want to focus on an oft-overlooked step: unpairing an Apple Watch. It’s pretty easy to do. Just get the two devices together and then follow these steps:

  1. Open the Watch app.
  2. Hit the My Watch tab.
  3. Tap the information icon next to your Watch.
  4. A new screen appears. Tap “Unpair Watch”.

That’s it. You might be asked to enter your Apple ID password, so have that on hand.

No iPhone? No problem.

Oops, you’ve already gotten rid of the iPhone and there’s your Watch, very confused about where its companion is. You can eliminate the little guy’s anxiety by wiping its mind. On the Watch, go to Settings > General > Reset > Erase all Content and Settings. It’s now fresh as a daisy.

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What’s making me happy this week Sept 1

A look at what’s making me happy this week, and how you can enjoy them, too. You’ll find an archive of my “happy picks” here.

Paper minis for RPGs

Tabletop gaming is my hobby. I’ve been getting together with the same group of people to drink beer and play games twice per week for years. It’s tremendously fun and a fantastic way to socialize, unwind, think and have a great time.

I really enjoy role-playing games like D&D, Fiasco and so many more. I was thrilled when I found Printable Heroes and Stuart Robertson on Patreon. They’re both making gorgeous, printable paper minis for games like Dungeons and Dragons, Pathfinder or any other game that uses fantasy minis. Their work is beautiful and I’m very happy to back them.

Plastic and metal minis can be expensive and time-consuming to paint. While I enjoy those more substantial figures very much, there’s something utterly charming about these paper characters.

Here’s a pro tip. Paper is kind of flimsy, so follow these steps for more rugged paper minis:

  1. Cut the image out of paper and use some rubber cement to glue it to a piece of black poster board.
  2. Cut the figure out of the poster board as best you can.
  3. Use a black Sharpie to go over the edges of the cut pasteboard to hide any white.
  4. Use an X-Acto knife to insert the mini’s base into some black foam core board.

Presto! Instant hero (or monster) ready for adventuring.

LeVar Burton Reads

If you haven’t subscribed to this podcast, let me know. I’ll drive to your house, pick up your phone and do it for you.

Every week, LeVar Burton reads a piece of short fiction complete with sound effects and beautiful story-telling skill. Each week I think, “He can’t possibly top last week’s tale,” and then that’s exactly what he does.

The most recent story (as of this writing) is “The Paper Menagerie” by Ken Liu. It’s beautiful and absolutely devastating. If you aren’t crying at the end, you weren’t paying attention.

LeVar brings his acting talent and obvious love of fiction to the show and the result is a podcast you really ought to hear. Goodness, I love it.

La Voz by Delinquent Habits

This should make you want to dance instantly. Pure hip-hop, infectious bass and drums, plus horns! I’ve been listening to this nonstop for a week.

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Investigation: Finding my own voice

At 46 I still struggle to be me online.

I launched my very first blog in 2000 after discoveirng Grant Hutchinson‘s Splorp. It was the first time I had seen the word “blog,” let alone a chronological, vertical arrangement of posts on his life. I loved the idea and made one of my own via Adobe GoLive. Publishing via FTP was a huge pain the ass, but that’s beside the point.

I really liked what Grant was doing, so my first blog was very much like his. Time went by and I began to admire other bloggers like John, Shawn, Patrick, Dave and so on. I wanted to be like those guys so I started mimicking what they were doing (in my defense, a lot of us mimicked John). Then I started working for AOL where the bulk of my job was scaning RSS feeds, finding relavant stories, and essentially re-telling them at TUAW.

Today I’ll sit down and think, “OK, I’m going to write about something. Let’s see…” and then I browse the sites listed above, among others. “Let’s see what people are talking about.”

That’s crazy and tonight I stopped myself and examined “What’s happeing with me? What do I want to write about?” Turns out I didn’t know. So I opened Bear, and wrote the following questions and answers:

What happened today?

Work was a little crazy
I was late for the Scout meeting
Grace had her first day of high school
William cooked himself dinner
I updated Overwatch
I had two meetings at work; one with the CEO, the Clinical Director and the Associate Executive Director; and another meeting with the CEO and the drivers.
I had an evaluation with a potential new assistant for my building
I hoped that I get paid soon because I need some cash

What did I learn today?

I need to pay more attention to dates and times
Vulnerability is important
The only person I can be — online and off — is myself

What tools did I use today?

Bear
MS Outlook
Todoist
Keep

What did I work on today?

Unclutterer articles
Cultivating leads on Fiverr
Boy Scout calendar for the upcoming year
Spending time with Grace following her first day of high school
Laundry
An outline

What’s worth posting/sharing today?

This process is.

And that’s how I got here. My online voice is an ongoing investigation, and this is the first report. See you again soon.