I'm back to work today after a two-week vacation. I wanted to stay home, relax, and get things done around the house. I did that.
I also made up a word: "Productiviate."
Productiviating may result in actual improved productivity. And it may prove to be a waste of time. It's hard to tell which way it will go when you're productiviating.
Examples of productiviating include trying out new software, changing up your online social media workflow, changing RSS readers, and rearranging the things you carry with you every day in your pockets.
Those aren't just examples — they're what I did.
The new productivity software I tried is Ulysses III writing software for the Mac. I like it a lot so far.
It's a nicely designed text editor. That part isn't special; there are plenty of nice text editors. 1
The special part of Ulysses is that it combines the editor with a database for organizing documents. Documents don't live as files in the Mac Finder; they live inside the Ulysses database. They're not even called "documents" in Ulysses; they're called "sheets." You can glue sheets together for projects, tag your sheets with keywords, save them into folders, and more.
Ulysses is like Evernote but it's optimized for text documents. And Ulysses is fast; it doesn't have the bloat that's crept into Evernote.
Ulysses is also like Scrivener but without the overwhelming variety of features.
Ulysses syncs with a companion app, Daedelus, for the iPhone and iPad. Or, rather, Daedelus syncs with Ulysses — Daedelus doesn't support some of Ulysses' features. The developers have an iPad version of Ulysses in beta.2
I'm not getting overly excited about Ulysses yet. I've tried plenty of writing apps on vacations, weekends, and evenings that fail to survive even a few minutes of the actual workday. Ask me again Monday lunchtime what I think of Ulysses. And then ask me again a month after that if I'm staying with it.
I'm no longer posting just to Google+ and letting Friends+Me automatically propagate to Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr. I'm posting to each of those four services manually. It's only a little extra work, and the payoff is a better experience for the people I interact with.
I'm using Buffer to space out the posts over time on Twitter and Facebook, and the native Tumblr queuing capability to do the same thing on Tumblr.
We'll see if this lasts. I've switched back and forth between native posting and Friends+Me before. I seem to derive as much pleasure from fiddling with my social media settings and workflows as I do from actually using social media.
Until a couple of days ago, I used Inoreader as an RSS reader. Inoreader is great, but the Web interface is a bit cluttered and the options for iPad clients aren't great. I tried a few alternatives, and finally settled on the most popular RSS reader: Feedly.
Feedly has done a lot of work since the last time I looked at it, in 2013. The Website is really nice, clean and uncluttered.
To access Feedly on the iPad, I'm using Newsify, which was recommended by Federico Viticci at MacStories. As Viticci notes, Newsify isn't well-known, particularly among Mac bloggers who are usually my guide to such things, but it's got a nice, clean, uncluttered user interface and better support for the native iOS share sheet than other RSS readers I've tried.
Also, Newsify is fast; it's great for flicking rapidly through a lot of articles to find the relatively few you want to pause over. My previous iPad newsreader of choice, Mr. Reader, seems slower.
Did you know that "everyday carry" is a thing? People spend time discussing what they carry around in their pockets every day. They fuss over getting just the right mix of tools. These people use the phrase "everyday carry," or "EDC," to describe their interest.
Many of these people have guns and other weapons as part of their EDC.3
For my EDC, I decided I like having my iPad Mini with me as I walk around the house. I have a couple of pairs of 5.11 tactical pants4 that I wear nearly every day.5 After some trial-and-error, I now keep the iPad mini in my left front pocket, my wallet in the flap pocket above my knee, the iPhone in the pants' special phone pocket,6 and my keys in my right pocket.
Why do I carry my keys around the house? It's because I go in and out the back door to get from my office to the house proper, and if I don't lock the door Sammy the cat might open the door and get out. He knows how to open doors.7
I also did non-productiviating activity. For example, I got caught up on expense reports.
And since then another two receipts came in, which I need to expense. It never ends.
I consolidated online services to save money.
I have two main domains — mitchwagner.com and wagmail.com, acquired in 2002 and 2004 respectively. I used wagmail.com as my personal email address 20014-2010.8 In 2010 I was self-employed and switched to mitchwagner.com because I thought it sounded more professional. I've stuck with mitchwagner.com for my email since.
wagmail.com is hosted at Yahoo, and points to Gmail.
mitchwagner.com is hosted by an outfit called Westhost. The website is hosted there, and email goes to the same Gmail account as wagmail.com.
After trying various options to sort out that tangle, I decided to just leave everything as it is, although I was able to reduce my Yahoo service by about $35 per year. The whole thing took about a day, which is a lot of time to spend for a relatively small savings. I had hoped to save a few hundred dollars by consolidating domains. But I'm still pleased I did it, because I needed to sort out what I was paying for and how much.9
Also on vacation
I spent lots of time with Julie.
I picked up and put away some things. Not enough. It's never enough.
I slept a lot.
I sat around and read a lot. You can tell I did that because I posted a lot on social media. For me, reading is followed by posting on social media the way eating is followed by10
I played with Minnie, and saw friends a little bit.
Can't beat that for a vacation.
And now back to work.
- Although actually it's a REALLY nice text editor. ↩
- Another neat feature of Ulysses — the software makes it easy to write footnotes. I'll try not to get carried away with it. ↩
- To my knowledge, the weapons are not used with each other during arguments about EDC. Though that would be awesome. ↩
- "Tactical pants" are just cargo pants that went through basic training. ↩
- In warm weather, I wear the shorts version of the same pants. ↩
- A main reason why I like these pants is because they have a phone pocket. ↩
- I think Sammy might have been behind the Sony hack. ↩
- I don't remember for sure why I didn't just use mitchwagner.com. Part of it is that I didn't then know how to forward email to one server and host a website on another server. Also, I had the idea that my brothers might also use wagmail.com addresses. They weren't interested. ↩
- Also, I'm glad I haven't been spending hundreds of dollars a year unnecesarily. I guess. Although the extra money would have been nice. ↩
- I need to work on that metaphor. ↩