There are some great online tools to deal with email inboxes, but what can be done about all the paper mail that comes to our doorstep? Jean and James talk about how they cope with that daunting stack of envelopes, flyers, and catalogs that can pile up especially during extended periods of travel, and discuss solutions for cutting down the amount of junk mail received.
While criss-crossing the country in July, James listened to the Getting Things Done audio book. In this episode, James talks about his newly refined thoughts about his trusted system and how hearing about GTD through a different medium helped him to understand the system in a different way. Jean and James recommit to doing some form of weekly review each week.
This week we turn our focus from Jean’s “tumble in Trieste” to James’ latest adventure in the Canadian maritime province of New Brunswick, where his father was born and raised. After the death of his father last year, James and his sister had many of the typical issues to deal with, plus one unique challenge: how do you best dispose of a U.S.-registered automobile in Canada? (Hint: Roadtrip!)
This episode follows up on Jean’s mishap on her trip with Jean discussing some reflections and lessons learned. Topics range from travel-specific subjects like travel insurance and packing for a day trip to more universal thoughts like being willing to accept help when offered and trying to keep a positive attitude even when things have taken an unexpected turn for the worse.
In this episode Jean tells the story of her ill-fated day trip to Trieste, where she injured herself and had to cut short her summer in Slovenia. Jean talks about her odyssey from an Italian piazza to her arrival back home in Portland, Oregon. Along the way, a few thoughts and tips on what you might want to bring on a day trip even if you are trying to travel light.
For this episode, Jean is in Slovenia and James is about to take a trip to the east coast.
Jean talks about the possibility of declaring OmniFocus Bankruptcy. James suggests that it would be a shame to lose all the work already done capturing items into the trusted system. Jean and James talk about handling to-do items that you will definitely not be able to get to when on a trip.
Finally, a little more about things you can’t wait until the last minute to do, as well as the fate of traveler’s checks.
UPDATE: This past weekend, Jean tripped and tore a tendon in her left knee while on her trip to Slovenia. She had to return home early due to the injury and is now back in Portland. You can send support and well-wishes to Jean via The Weekly Review or directly at @macgenie on Micro.blog or Twitter.
Lep pozdrav iz Ljubljane! / Greetings from Ljubljana! 🇸🇮
In our first intercontinental podcast episode, Jean talks about how living away from home, either in a hotel or a small apartment, makes it possible to form new habits that can stay in place once you get back. It’s a lot easier to:
stay decluttered when your place is small
prepare (not necessarily cook!) three simple meals a day when your kitchen is minimal
Leaving things to the last minute is the bête noire of the organized person, right? But Jean and James have found that sometimes the last minute can be your friend, as long as you are cognizant of what absolutely must be settled in advance. Sometimes the choices you make at the last minute can surprise and delight you.
Photo: New fleece cage liner purchased for the guinea pigs in a very whimsical pattern, a last minute choice over DIY fleece liners, which would have been a boring solid dark color.
James is finding that even thought it has been a number of weeks since WWDC, he is still living in his head, not checking in with his trusted system, but still feeling productive. Jean talks about creating a daily ‘punch list’ of items to do on that particular day.
Jean makes the suggestion of setting an OmniFocus reminder to check OmniFocus daily. James is revisiting the book The Power of Habit to try to turn a daily check-in with his trusted system into a daily habit, even when he’s off in ‘in my head’ land.
Jean leads off a discussion about the delight of making spontaneous plans and how to decide whether they are feasible in the context of all our other commitments. Making time to be with the people you love has become Jean’s top criteria when deciding whether to make new plans on the spur of the moment. James points out that GTD is designed to make spontaneous joy possible, not to squelch it.
Photo: Spontaneous friends: Jean with New Zealand friends Devon and Maryanne, hosted by LA friends Allison, and Steve
This week Jean and James talk about their time at WWDC 2019. Bringing a long-planned project to its conclusion, the LIVE near WWDC concert was well-received. The annoucements from Apple hold promise to make developers and users alike more productive. Also, James is trying out new style of blogging, inspired by Brent Simmons. Jean is making preparations for her trip to Slovenia.
Your trusted system holds commitments you have made to others and also to yourself. From there, you can fulfil your commitment or drop the ball. In this episode, Jean and James talk about a third option—renegotiating your committments.
This episode also represents a renegotiated commitment of its own — shorter episodes for the summer while Jean and James are traveling and not able to record every week.
Plus: Jean gets some Slovenian phrase homework and James mentions the comedic properties of the phrase “Where is my hat?” in French.
James and Jean review their plans for WWDC week in San Jose, and what is still on their to-do lists. James reveals the secret phrase needed to obtain The Weekly Review stickers (hint: just ask!), and Jean talks about efforts not to overthink the Micro.blog meetup.
There are still some tickets left for Live near WWDC. Get yours today to avoid disappointment, because they will sell out before the show on June 5th. We hope to see you there!
This past week, App Camp For Girls announced some difficult news. In this episode, Jean talks about her history as founder of the non-profit and aspects of the program, including the curriculum and volunteers, who have had such an impact on many lives. James describes some of the challenges of producing a big benefit concert with changes being announced just weeks away from the event.
On June 5th, Jean and James will be performing nerdy music in San Jose: LIVE near WWDC
So we lasted a whole five weeks since our Emailiversary show (Ep. 52) before we took up the topic of email processing again, probably because it has been a hard week and we are behind on email. Luckily we both have a sense of humor about it.
We also discuss listener follow-up to last week’s episode Whelmed, with a pledge to try a new suggestion as soon as we get unwhelmed after LIVE near WWDC.
As the annual James Dempsey and the Breakpoints LIVE near WWDC benefit concert for App Camp For Girls approaches, James reports he has spent the past few days being ‘whelmed’ with show preparations.
Jean and James talk about these sort of times when you are so focused on a set of urgent tasks at hand that you might not look to your trusted system for guidance for a day or two. James wonders if it is okay to operate keeping a finite number of pressing tasks in mind for a short period of time.
Have you been ‘whelmed’ before? If you have tips, tricks, suggestions, or life hacks of how you deal with similar situations, we would love to hear from you on Micro.blog, Twitter or email us!
On June 5th, Jean and James will be performing nerdy music: LIVE near WWDC
Jean returns from a week in Florida with her dad and siblings, where they took on the task of clearing out the home that the family has occupied since 1963. She shares her fresh insights into how to deal with stuff that has sentimental value, how to organize a family photo swap, and the joys of hiring a junk pickup service. Jean also describes the benefits of doing hard work on a project that has an immediate payoff.
Photo: Jean and brother Bob, circa 50 years ago, uncovered in the decluttering.
Jean and James talk with Ish ShaBazz, an app developer whose company Illuminated Bits recently released Capsicum, a new approach to the task management notebook. We learn what led Ish to the idea of building a notebook app, the power of round-trip translation with Boomerang, and how it felt for Ish be featured in the documentary App: The Human Story.
We also find out what the weather was on our birthdays in our respective hometowns in Florida and New Jersey, a nifty little feature of Capsicum’s integration with historical weather information.
In this episode Jean and James discuss how finding the right tool or appliance can change your daily routine for the better as well as have a significant effect on your day to day life. Jean tells the story of a hair dryer so good that it has put a bit of a strain on her relationship with her longtime hairdresser. James talks about switching to an electric razer that keeps him from letting his beard grow - eliminating the need for a periodic unpleasant whisker ‘hackathon’. Both describe the tradeoff between the expense of a really nice applicance or tool and how its affects can make your life better over time.
It’s been a whole year since Jean and James started their quest to get their email inboxes under control. Find out how they did over the past twelve months. Jean talks about the satisfaction of banishing marketing emails from her inbox. James reveals the secret little cheat that has kept his inbox from overflowing and steps he is taking to eliminate it. Plus, a bonus Emailiversary greeting card to download.
Jean and James continue to ferret out overlooked inboxes and lists as part of our efforts to make sure that obligations and projects are correctly categorized. This week we look at a common spot where Someday/Maybe dreams hang out: the domain names that we own. We look at a few of the domains for which we have had ambitious if not actionable plans for, and talk about how to make the tough triage decisions.
One of those domains that we are definitely using is livenearwwdc.com, the information central for all things about LIVE Near WWDC 2019, the annual James Dempsey and the Breakpoints benefit show for App Camp For Girls, June 5th in San Jose! Tickets will go on sale soon, and you can be notified first by signing up for our mailing list.
Jean and James celebrate their 50th episode by actually doing full weekly reviews.
The discussion includes recommiting to doing full weekly reviews and techniques to help get back on track. In a celebratory mood, the conversation ranges from including a review of your lofty goals in a weekly review, to some behind-the-scenes podcast production revelations, to dealing with pet poop.
As James continues to identify the points of friction that have hindered regular weekly review completion, Jean looks at doing daily reviews to process all the inboxes that silently accumulate obligations as a way of minimizing the weekly procrastination.
The weekly review is a key piece of keeping your trusted system humming along, but it can also feel like a daunting, onerous task to be avoided. This week James talks with Jean about his diagnosis as to why he has not performed a full weekly review in a while. Topics include the crucial step of clarifying, the difference between unprocessed and work-in-progress items, some thoughts on inbox zero, and rethinking when a project should be actively tracked as opposed to living in the someday / maybe list.