November 2017 in review

Was it good?

Things I liked this month

GoodTask 3 for iOS. Even though I’ve only had a brief stint with this app (and ultimately sticked with Things), it was a breath of fresh air that I much needed at this time of the year.

Every now and then I feel this urge to explore new ways of managing my tasks and projects. And so I’ve found this post by Tim Nahumck and felt compelled to try this app out. The idea of combining the first-party benefits of Reminders with more granular control was very appealing to me.

Ultimately I’ve found that the way Reminders work isn’t entirely compatible with how my brain works. I just need start dates — due dates are simply not enough. And as I don’t follow the true GTD approach — the one with a bunch of undated tasks laying around and picking each morning what to tackle during the day — it was difficult for me to switch.

Most of my tasks have a start date — a date when I want to have them on my radar, but not necessarily complete them by that date. They usually don’t have a due date — but if they do, it’s a drop-dead deadline.

So: no, Reminders won’t work in that context. Even if wrapped around in an app that gives a lot more control than the Apple’s default option.

What I’ve also discovered is that I really miss saved searches. It’s something that I wish Things had. Makes navigating a big database of tasks/projects a lot easier and the whole system vastly more flexible.

Trying to make your system work in another app is always a good way to review and reassess the system itself. What do I really need? What makes my work easier and what makes it harder? How do I streamline this process? It’s an opportunity to learn and improve.

My girlfriend made fun of me that I wasted two days meddling with this app only to restore the status quo in the end. But I don’t consider this time wasted at all. I’ve learned a lot and that itself makes it worth it.

Swift Playgrounds. I’ve just started playing with this app. Way too late! Should have done so just after I got my iPad Pro! It serves as a good refresher of basic programming concepts. Will sure prove useful in my Qualtrics survey programming work (JavaScript). I can see the improvement already.

But beyond that? I would love to write an app in Swift someday. But: a) I need a Mac; and b) I’m afraid it would be too complex of a task for me anyway.

What went well this month

Seoul trip. We have this expression in Polish: golden Fall. It describes this very brief time of the year — 2 weeks at most — between Summer and full-fledged Fall. It’s getting chilly, but not unbearably cold. You can wear a nice coat and feel comfortable outside. It’s bright and sunny — not that typical Fall overcast. Leafs start turning yellow and red, but don’t fall yet. One of my favorite times of the year.

And this is basically what the weather was like in Seoul. Perfect!

Media/entertainment

  • Thor. Funny and entertaining. Can watch.
  • Justice League. Meh. Totally skippable.

Focus for the next month

Keep writing! This is my main productivity-related goal for December. This year has so far been a struggle for me to get back to writing. As always, there are multiple reasons. Lack of time, lack of proper place to write, and — obviously — the switch to English is not making it easy either.

Thing is, I’ve always loved writing. And I really want to nurture that passion.

Keep learning. Two languages, but quite far apart. Mandarin and Swift. Let’s see how it goes.

Keep under budget. Going to be hard with another trip, Christmas and all, but need to try.

November was surprisingly good in that regard so need to keep it up!