CurEight: A Walk Sounds Nice …

May 27, 2015

Gregory Ciotti from the Help Scout blog on finding your creative self:

Stepping away lets you expand on what you’ve already worked on and removes you from work so you can think clearly. It’s time to quit your desk and do your best thinking somewhere else.

Sometimes I’ll sit there at my desk for hours on end waiting for a creative thought to pop into my head.

Sometimes one does.

Most of the time, however, I just sit there and get discouraged at the fact that I haven’t been able to pull a single creative thought out of my head.

A walk sounds nice …

  1. Leaving Your Desk Behind (Help Scout)
  2. The Sweet Setup – All the best apps for your iPhone, iPad, and Mac – all in one place. In fact …
  3. AnyList – The Sweet Setup’s favorite grocery shopping app – Amy and I were just talking about the fact that we needed to find a better way to communicate when it comes to the household things we need like paper towels, laundry detergent, etc. After perusing The Sweet Setup for a few minutes, it looks like we have found our solution.
  4. Apple Working on Split-Screen Multitasking, Multi-User Support for iPad (MacRumors) – It’s about dang time!
  5. Google Study Shows Security Questions Aren’t All That Secure (TechCrunch) – “Chances are, for example, that when you try to guess what an English-speaking user said was his or her favorite food, guessing pizza would get you a long way (almost 20 percent of Google users apparently used this as their answer).” If pizza is the answer to any of your security questions, change it now. If you’re curious what I do … I don’t even answer those questions. I use a password manager (in my case 1Password) to generate a random answer to my security questions. You know, something that looks like this: hkjEi$RLNN6py2HuVH,Y. Because who’s going to guess that?!
  6. Learn Social Media in 7 Days (Buffer) – This is a cool concept! Buffer will teach you all you need to know about social media in 7 days through 7 emails. Even if you’re a power user, Buffer’s content is fantastic and well worth the time investment.
  7. Lynda.com – I am preparing for The Bailey Group’s major website redesign and I needed to brush up on a few skills. In a few hours flat I was an information architecture expert.
  8. You Need a Budget – I’m not saying that you need a budget. It’s actually the name of the software Amy and I use to control our personal finances. Our first month in our new home has been doozie and I’m not sure what situation we’d be in without it.

CurEight is a weekly blog series where I share my 8 favorite discoveries (links, books, apps, quotes, productivity methods, and on and on) from the past week.

If you found any of these resources helpful don’t forget to subscribe at the bottom of this post. That way you’ll get each edition of CurEight delivered straight to your inbox every Saturday morning.

CurEight: Back to the Future + Fat Facts = Clickbait

May 18, 2015

The first link in this week’s CurEight was so out of left field that it was too good not to include.

Marty McFly animated gif

Enjoy.

    1. Marty McFly could never have reached 88 miles per hour in that parking lot– See. Absolutely ridiculous, but impossible not to read it.
    2. Apple Watch update could bring sleep tracking and other missing features – Glad to see Apple is going to be adding these features in. I knew they would. You can tell that the Apple Watch, in its current state, is not a finished product. I’m most excited about the possibility of a sleep tracking feature. I thought this wouldn’t be possible with the current version of the watch because of battery limitations, but the battery life is quite good. As of this writing, at 11:04 p.m., my watch is at 74% after a full day’s use.
    3. This Video Breaks Down The War on Fat (and Why You Need It In Your Diet) – Well done. Not all fats make you fat people! Even the government agrees. Some fats are incredibly good for you and your body needs them to help reduce inflamation.
    4. The first trailer for ‘Steve Jobs’ is here – I haven’t seen any of the movies that have been produced about Steve Jobs since his death. I think I’ll definitely be planning a trip to the theater for this one.
    5. Encrypto – Encrypt the files you send (Mac / Windows Software) – Encrypt your super sensitive files at the snap of your fingers with MacPaw’s new release: Encrypto. This is easily the most pleasant method I’ve ever experienced of encrypting a file. Here’s the process: Open up Encrypto, drag a file onto the app and within seconds it spits out an encrypted copy that’s ready for safe travel across the internet. The best part? It’s completely free. Oh, and it’s cross-platform compatible between Windows and Macs.
    6. Jurassic Park – The Audible Audio Edition – I saw within the last few weeks that Jurassic Park got a refreshed audio version and the reviews are stellar. I’ve never read the book, but this sounds (teehee … get it!?) like a better time than any to jump right in.
    7. The Incomparable Game of Thrones feed (Podcast) – I never realized how much I actually missed each week with the different story lines until I started listening to this podcast. This is one of my guilty pleasure podcasts.
      What my Most Important Task list looks like.
    8. MIT List aka Most Important Tasks list – As a follow-up to last week’s post: I created a MIT task list from my master task manager today and it seemed to work great! I was much more focused on the 3 tasks I had picked out at the beginning of the day and much less distracted by the bredth of stuff that’s currently on my plate.

CurEight is a weekly blog series where, every Monday, I share my 8 favorite discoveries (links, books, apps, quotes, productivity methods, and on and on) from the past week.

If you found any of these resources helpful don’t forget to subscribe at the bottom of this post. That way you’ll get each edition of CurEight delivered straight to your inbox every Saturday morning.

CurEight: Time-Tested Task Management Methods

May 12, 2015

Belle Cooper on “always searching for a more efficient way to work”:

I waste more time testing productivity methods and searching for the best to-do app than I spend tackling the tasks on my list.

YES! Me, me, me!!

I hate that I do this!

Belle wrote an incredible post on the Zapier Blog where she researched and dug into 8 battle-tested task management methods.

I currently use (and have been using consistently for a few years now) OmniFocus, which leans heavily on the GTD Method. The problem I’ve been having with it is I easily get sucked into it and start messing around with / organizing my tasks instead of actually doing stuff!

I’m going to try the method in the article that recommends using OmniFocus for the intake / organization, but creating a text-based list of to-do items for the day; that way I’m focused and driven towards what I know I need to achieve that day.

In case you’re curious, here’s what my OmniFocus setup looks like.

What my OmniFocus setup looks like

Check out link #1 for more on this subject.

  1. 8 Time-Tested Task Management Methods
  2. Pretty Websites (Seth Godin) – I can’t get enough of Seth Godin’s perspective on all things marketing. His post on “pretty websites” is amazing. In short: a focused website is a successful website. If your goal is to have a beautiful website, then make a beautiful website. But, if your goal is to have a website with a high conversion rate, you must focus on that. Typically, you can’t have both with a website. As I build the new Bailey Group website this will be great to keep in mind.
  3. Divide Your Inbox Into These Three Categories to Know What’s Important (Lifehacker) – I’ve done this in a different way using Apple’s VIP feature. The idea is to reduce the amount of email you focus on every day to only the most important stuff.
  4. Don’t Waste Your Opportunity (Zen Habits) – Too often I feel as if I am wasting the opportunities I have been given by God. It is so darn frustrating to make one choice that I know is not the right choice given the situation. This was a nice hey Mark! Stop wasting your life type of post.
  5. Casa Dragones Blanco Tequila – Speaking of wasting opportunity: I am asking for this tequila for my birthday in 29 days. I’ve heard it’s unbelievable. Will be nice to sit on the porch with this on a Saturday night after a long week.
  6. It’s Official: Google Says More Searches Now On Mobile Than On Desktop (Search Engine Land) – “The company says that ‘more Google searches take place on mobile devices than on computers in 10 countries including the US and Japan.’” If your website is not responsive or built with a mobile first approach, then you are seriously missing the boat.
  7. Coolors Color Scheme Generator – This has evolved into one of my go to tools in my designer toolkit. I’m not the best at picking out color schemes for projects that I’m working on, but this site makes it near impossible to screw up. Try it out!
  8. Get 3 months of Spotify Premium for $0.99 – I use Spotify on the daily, so it was nice to save a few bucks on my subscription, even if it’s only for a few months. Sign up using a different email address if you’re a current user to score this deal.

CurEight is a weekly blog series where I share my 8 favorite discoveries (links, books, apps, quotes, productivity methods, and on and on) from the past week.

If you found any of these resources helpful don’t forget to subscribe at the bottom of this post. That way you’ll get each edition of CurEight delivered straight to your inbox every Saturday morning.

CurEight: Back at It

May 4, 2015

Sorry I have been MIA the last few weeks.

Amy and I made the big move to our new house two weekends ago and we’ve spent much of our time since then unpacking boxes and getting things situated. The house is awesome. We feel truly blessed to be able to say that our first home is our dream home.

In case you were wondering, here’s what my new home office looks like.

What my new home office looks like.

Pretty sweet, huh?! This is the exact set up I have dreamed of having for years.

I even mowed the lawn for the first time in my lifetime! I called my Dad beforehand and told him what I was about to do. “Be careful not to cut your feet off,” he said. It’s funny how we worry about the same things; we’re very much alike. I now know how ridiculous that concern is though. It would be almost impossible for me to cut my feet off with the lawnmower.

I’m glad to be back at it.

I have some great content planned for the next few weeks, so definitely stay tuned.

Without further delay, here’s this week’s CurEight:

  1. WaterMinder – Water Hydration Reminder & Tracker (iOS App) – I’ve been using this app to help upgrade my hydration game. Drinking enough water has always been an issue for me; I just hate having to run to the bathroom every 5 seconds! Through using the app though it has become clear I have never consumed the proper amount of water I should, especially with my daily activity level.
  2. Hit by Avalanche in Everest Basecamp 25.04.2015 (YouTube) – I get chills every time I watch this. It shows an avalanche that hit a Mount Everest base camp during the Nepal earthquake.
  3. Twelve South’s Dual-Screen Wallpaper CollectionFall in San Francisco looks stunning on my iMac + Thunderbolt Display. They have customized sizes for almost every computer in Apple’s line. If you use two screens to get stuff done, check these out.
  4. Apple reportedly working on a new Apple TV remote without a touchpad (The Verge) – It’s coming … Time to add a category to our budget.
  5. Watch a Star Trek actor perfectly troll Star Wars fans on May the 4th (The Verge) – May the 4th be with you! Don’t have a clue what that means? This Star Trek actor will explain.
  6. Secret Apple Watch options: 14 Force Touch tips for your wrist (iMore) – I found this article hugely helpful in figuring out how to master my new shiny toy: the Apple Watch. Thursday will mark my first full week with the new gadget. I’ll post my initial thoughts and feelings on it then.
  7. Tilt Wall Mount for LCD LED Plasma TV (Monoprice) – Last week, with the help of a buddy, I just finished a project I’ve had my sights set on for years: mounting my flat screen TVs. I picked up these mounts from Monoprice for just under $22 and they have performed flawlessly. Granted, they aren’t the kind you can move in every direction, but they look and feel durable as tanks. Highly HIGHLY recommend them if you’re looking to complete the same project in your home.
  8. Mac Power Users: Life on Mars (Podcast) – Ever wondered what it’s like to live on Mars? I know I have. One of my favorite books, The Martian, is all about an astronaut who gets left on Mars by his crew after a freak accident. Anyway, Mac Power Users chatted with Dr. Ross Lockwood who just spent the last few months as a part of a NASA-funded simulation studying what it would be like to live on Mars. It is cool to think that we could have astronauts on Mars within the next 10 – 20 years.

CurEight is a weekly blog series where, every Monday, I share my 8 favorite discoveries (links, books, apps, quotes, productivity methods, and on and on) from the past week.

If you found any of these resources helpful don’t forget to subscribe at the bottom of this post. That way you’ll get each edition of CurEight delivered straight to your inbox every Saturday morning.

CurEight: A Day in the Life

April 13, 2015

I am beyond ecstatic that Game of Thrones is back.

One of my favorite guilty pleasures is watching the behind-the-scenes video that is typically released along with the DVD box sets after each season wraps up.

This year, the crew at GOT released a special Day in the Life documentary for the upcoming Season 5 of the show. If you are a GOT fan in any way, shape or form, dedicate 30 minutes to watching this.

The numbers they highlight at the end are mind-blowing.

5 countries. 151 sets. 240 days. 166 cast members. Over 1000 crew members. And over 5000 extras.

And now … this week’s CurEight:

  1. Game of Thrones Season 5: A Day in the Life (YouTube)
  2. Warby Parker Bensen Frames – I love Warby Parker. I purchased my first pair of their ultra affordable eyewear in 2013 and they’ve held up beautifully. I picked up this new pair sight unseen. Want to hear something even cooler? For every pair of glasses they sell, they donate a pair of frames to those less fortunate.
  3. Photos for OS X Review (MacStories) – I have fully moved my photo library from Adobe Lightroom to the new Photos app. I had one hiccup where a few of the pictures I had deleted popped back into my library, but everything else has been smooth sailing. If you’ve upgraded to OS X 10.10.3 I suggest giving this a good, hard look.
  4. Apple Watch Review Roundup (MacRumors) – All the big-time Apple Watch reviews summarized in one convenient location.
  5. LinkedIn To Buy Online Education Site Lynda.com For $1.5 Billion (TechCrunch) – I love this move by LinkedIn. Lynda.com started out producing highly specialized courses and somewhere along the line morphed into the one stop shop to learn absolutely everything about anything. I just hope this move helps Lynda add to the foundation they’ve already established, not tear it down.
  6. The problem with modern web design (Accidental Tech Podcast) – Well, the crew at ATP mentions a bunch of issues with modern web design and all of them relate to a lack of focus on the content the visitor is there to consume. Websites like The Verge have so over-done the look and design of their articles that they’re almost unreadable. As a part-time web designer, I love the look of what The Verge has done with some of their articles to make them more beautiful and engaging, but, as a reader I am so distracted by what’s going on around the content that I can no longer focus on what I was there to see in the first place.
  7. Inside the Mind of Glenn Beck, You Find…Walt Disney and Orson Welles? (Tim Ferriss Podcast) – For some reason I had this misconception about who Glenn Beck was like many people have with Howard Stern. I almost skipped this episode, but I’m really glad I didn’t.
  8. The Apple Watch I Pre-ordered – After the dust had cleared on Friday morning at 3:02 a.m., this is the Apple Watch I ended up pre-ordering.

CurEight is a weekly blog series where, every Monday, I share my 8 favorite discoveries (links, books, apps, quotes, productivity methods, and on and on) from the past week.

If you found any of these resources helpful don’t forget to subscribe at the bottom of this post. That way you’ll get each edition of CurEight delivered straight to your inbox every Saturday morning.