Yoga

I tried a yoga class this morning. 

I woke up at death o’clock - which later turned out to be 7.10am -  and scrambled together my shoes, keys and a bottle of water.

I arrived 3 minutes late.

The people were friendly, which hurt my head, and the mats were unrolled and ready.

It was all about "preparing for the day" and "refocusing your mind". I kept thinking about breakfast.

The phrase ‘bend the knee’ was said a lot. Every time I heard it, I pictured this meme. It really is one of the better GoT memes. I missed GoT. I wondered if the Night King would win and it would be a great metaphor for how death gets us all in the end.

We switched positions, and my mind went back to breakfast.

 

I can see the merit in getting out and active so early, but I don’t think it’s specific to yoga.

You just need to be:

  1. Out of bed
  2. Moving

And that could entail many things. But then, there aren't many other exercise classes that leave you feeling refreshed and offer a built-in nap. So I'll probably try yoga again.

An Affair with ToDoist

Things are happening with my task management system.

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I met OmniFocus in the summer of 2015.

It was love. For the next two years I was faithful; my Apple Watch loved OmniFocus as much as I did and we all lived in productive harmony.

Until last week, everything was fine.

It wasn't like I hadn't been acquainted with ToDoist before. I had eyed up the logo; wondered what it was like. But I suppressed any feelings to stray. I was happy. I had OmniFocus. We had the Watch together. We were a family.

Getting to know todoist

Last week, a client brought in a new policy - all freelancers were to use ToDoist to track tasks.

I looked guiltily at the purple tick on my desktop. 

I spent the next few days becoming acquainted to the ToDoist interface. Simple enough - a clean design (cleaner than OmniFocus?) and the oh-so-satisfying sunset when all tasks were complete.

There were good and bad observations among the ones I collected: I adored the minimalistic interface, but hated like typing 'every Monday' or 'every Friday' for weekly tasks (it felt weirdly primitive). 

The next time I opened OmniFocus, I knew I was in trouble. It looked old. Clunky. Boring.

reservations about the switch

Aesthetically, I love ToDoist but it feels more entry level than OmniFocus - and this is where my trouble rests. 

It feels like comparing Crash Course to a textbook: one is visually pleasing and the other has every tiny detail you need. Both serve you well, but in different ways.

And yet, every time I open OmniFocus, I can't get ToDoist out of my head.

I feel I can rely on OmniFocus to do everything I need, no fuss. I'm concerned ToDoist may whinge when it gets down to my pernickety approach to task management. 

what's next?

I tell you this with the hope of clarification. 

Are my fears about ToDoist's limited functionality true? Or is OmniFocus as old as it now feels?

Perhaps a switch in task management system is inherently good; it may force me to reassess my work and help me organise tasks more effectively. But maybe not. Maybe time spent migrating away from OmniFocus is wasted time, or perhaps the multi-task-manager life is one to consider?

If you have any thoughts, you can Tweet me here.

For now I will continue to use OmniFocus with one eye is firmly on that pretty, red logo...

The September Restart

September is the real new year and I have some plans.

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September 1st is the first day of the new year. I will accept nothing else.

It's the month of new stationery. New school shoes. New weather. It's a month of cinnamon oats, coats and Keynotes. September is the only time I feel like this: it's a good time for change.

I never liked the other New Years. January 1st came with such unfulfilled expectations; everything you planned or wanted to do faded under the hangover of Christmas. You were always left lying on your back in a potato coma. Browsing Reddit. Burping occasionally.

It's a bad way to start the year.

September is a time for new starts. I set my goals accordingly.

September Last Year: A Snapshot

First, a rewind to a year ago today. I had just graduated.

I would ask for a brief interlude so I can vomit - a whole year has passed?! But it would be infuriating to hear a twenty-something whinge about time, so let's move on.

I found myself in a position unlike most of my peers when I graduated. I worked as a freelance writer throughout university so when I left, I simply went full-time. 

In many respects, I felt lucky. But it did mean I didn't have the Serious Life Change many of my fellow graduates had when they landed jobs in other cities. They moved on and I stood still.

Freelance work is great. But it can be static. Only I didn't know that yet.

A Lesson In Adulting

I waited for opportunities to appear, trips to be planned and Masters degrees just pop up in my inbox.

It didn't happen.

It took the passing of a few months to realise that I hadn't moved very much at all since graduating. Adulthood was not attached to the same fast-track rails education had been and time passes more quickly when nothing is new.

Perhaps I am serving myself some injustice. I did pick up some great copywriting clients and I was more involved with coaching rhythmic gymnastics that I had been in years. 

But I wasn't moving forward. And that bothered me.

The first change

When the rhythmic gymnastics club came to and end, the structure of my week unravelled and I, for the first time since the age of 4, was no longer regularly going to gymnastics. 

I thought about what I wanted to prioritise. Three things came up.

  1. Work
  2. Exercise
  3. Social life

My focus switched to these areas; I had success with all three.

1. WORK

Around the time of this focus-reshuffle, I landed my job with Relay. It was a turning point in my career, and with my new role for a podcast network, I began thinking more about the ways I could improve my systems and processes.

2. Exercise

Self-employment means you're never far from a brownie. Luckily, my Apple Watch acted as a catalyst for a more active lifestyle. I joined the gym, started playing tennis and began bouldering at the weekend. It was more movement than my couch-potato-student-self could have beared.

3. Social Life

What helped here (funnily enough) was again my Apple Watch. If I needed those extra steps, I was far more likely to walk to the pub and see friends. If I hadn't hit my exercise goal, I'd suggest a gym trip with Cass. It pulled me away from being a Netflix cookie-monster and put me into the outside world with *shudders* other people. Something that is easy to avoid when you work remotely.

why this time was different

While focussing on the above areas, I noted substantial changes in my habits.

This, undoubtedly, was due to my utilisation of technology. If I had to wear my Apple watch every day, I knew I'd be more likely to workout. If I spent time looking for the best apps and software, I knew I could be better in my work life.

Once I realised this, I began thinking about all the things I'd like to improve - and wondering what apps and tools would be out there to help.

Technology, to improve

So, that brings us to today. September 1st. The real new year.

My focus is now a broader one - how can I use technology to improve my day to day life?

I have ideas and plans for all kinds of projects, all related to being better. I figured a blog would be the best place to document what I find.

September 1st felt like the right day to start.