Musical chairs, Google employees, and getting more done

This week...

I read:

  • The debilitating myth of musical chairs by Seth Godin: I probably have a new favorite blog by Seth every week or two, and this one currently holds the title. He addresses the way we are all taught to be vigilant about “making the team” but aren’t taught that we can just start our own team if we don’t make the cut. Seth uses the analogy of musical chairs to communicate the value of an entrepreneurial spirit in a powerful and creative way.
  • How to get a job at Google by Thomas L Friedman: Thomas Friedman is one of my favorite thinkers. I’ve shared his talk from last year’s co(lab) summitwith many of my friends because in it, he shares insights about the future that I really believe every millennial needs to hear. This article hits on some similar topics about the workforce, specifically how to be the type of person that successful companies like Google want to hire. The nuances in leadership, humility, and learning ability that he addresses are definitely worth studying for anyone who wants to grow both professionally and personally.
  • The heretic’s guide to getting more done by David Brendal: I love articles about productivity but a lot of them just say the same things over and over. I enjoyed this piece by David Brendal because it’s not quite what you expect. I’ve put his tips on daydreaming and “being more mindful than focused” to use this week and have definitely experienced a creativity boost because of it.

I tried:

  • Checkmark 2: I’ve seen a lot of chatter about this to-do list app recently so I decided to give it a try. Checkmark boasts the ability to be anything from a shopping list to a reminders tool, to a project management system. The app operates off of 3 segments – When, Where, and Lists:
    • When – this is basically a reminders tool. While it doesn’t have the voice control option that the native Reminders offers with Siri, it has a much nicer UI and makes it easier to set recurring tasks.
    • Where – this is probably the coolest part of the app, allowing you to build a list of locations you frequently have tasks associated with – like the grocery stores you shop at most often. Checkmark will remind you of the the tasks in this category when you are near the location you associate it with. This is not the first app to offer this type of feature, but Checkmark does it really well.
    • Lists – this is Checkmark’s newest feature and while it offers a lot of customizability, it is definitely not robust enough to handle project management well. It’s not bad for personal use, but I would never use this for my tasks at work.

    Overall, I like Checkmark a lot, but wish the 3 segments were more integrated. For example, I’d like to have a List called “To Buy” and be able to associate the tasks within that list to a location. On the other hand though, the silos within the app force you to think about the context of each to-do more thoroughly, which may not be a bad thing for improving time management.

I listened to: 

  • Artifice by Sohn: Sohn has written some of my favorite songs to listen to while writing or getting work done that requires deep thought. It’s interesting enough to keep the creativity flowing but subtle enough to not be distracting. Artifice is his newest single, and while I’m not sure  that it’s better thanLessons, I’m still really into it.