Me

All the “Things” 2020

I’ve been using the Things app to track all my personal to-do’s and projects for a couple of years now. I love this Mac-assed Mac app and use it all the time.

I recently discovered how to get access to the Things database and took the chance to reflect on how Iโ€™m spending my time.

So here are some highlights of all my “Things” in 2020.

Lastly year, I completed 108 personal projects. Each project consists of a number of specific to-do items (tasks). A project can be something small like ๐Ÿ›ณ Renew passport (6 tasks) or big like ๐ŸŽธConvert guest room to a music studio (31 tasks).

I generally include an emoji in my project names because somehow they help motivate me. ๐Ÿคท๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ

Some favorite completed projects of 2020 were:

  • ๐Ÿ—ณVote (3 tasks)
  • ๐Ÿคนโ€โ™‚๏ธPlan for best self (7 tasks)
  • ๐Ÿฆ Corona (5 tasks), my most fitting “project” for 2020

I canceled 9 projects, such as:

  • ๐ŸŒถHome gardening
  • ๐Ÿฅ‹Grav Maga
  • ๐Ÿฆƒ Holiday family plans, the most fitting cancellation for 2020

I completed 11 projects to “fix” things, including:

  • ๐ŸFix that gap under my door (3 tasks)
  • ๐ŸฅFix drums (luckily only 2 tasks and zero dollars)
  • โœ๏ธBlog fix up (6 tasks)

Top project in progress:

  • ๐Ÿ“˜Write a book (43 tasks completed, many more to go — and growing)

In 2020, I completed about 7 per day on average. This is useful because it tells me how to pace myself.

I canceled about 1.4 per day. Canceling isnโ€™t a bad thing โ€” itโ€™s just the opposite. Itโ€™s a conscious choice not to do something you thought you needed to do.

Going into the new year, I have 62 projects in progress. Hmm, it already looks like a busy year coming up. ๐Ÿค”


Here is one of the SQLite queries I used for this post. ๐Ÿ‘จ๐Ÿปโ€๐Ÿ’ป

SELECT title, date(creationDate, 'unixepoch') as start, date(stopDate, 'unixepoch') as stop from TMTask
WHERE type = 1
AND status = 3
AND date(creationDate, 'unixepoch') BETWEEN '2020-01-01' AND '2020-12-31'
ORDER BY creationDate

Software Dev

The Mac Developer’s Swiss Army Knife

I get so annoyed when I find myself using random websites ๐Ÿคฎ or all different apps ๐Ÿคท๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ to do things like format JSON, test regex’s, encode/decode Base64, encode/decode URLs, or convert Unix time strings.

This nifty little Mac app does all the basic things any developer regularly needs natively, locally, and offline. And it’s free if you build it yourself. Or pay for the official build. Up to you.

๐Ÿ‘‰ DevUtils.app – Developer Utilities for macOS

DevUtils.app screenshot

Via iOS Dev Weekly. See also: Mac-assed Mac Appsย ๐Ÿ˜†

Practical · You

Things and the 5 Second Rule

I recently came across this book on Audible called The 5 Second Rule by Mel Robbins. I didn’t end up buying the book since I don’t want to send 7 hrs and 35 mins listening to a book about a 5-second strategy. The math just didn’t add up for me. ๐Ÿ˜†

But I saw there was a short TED talk on the 5 Second Rule plus an even shorter YouTube video on the topic.

The basic idea is that as you go through your day, you have things constantly popping into your head. These are fleeting things that you should do, would like to do, useful ideas, and so forth. Mel says you have 5 seconds to act on that idea or it’s gone, or at least you won’t do anything about it. And acting on those ideas is the difference between making the life you want and not. ๐Ÿคฏ

I like that idea. But what can you actually do in 5 seconds? I mean, you’re probably driving or out for a jog or playing Wii. You can’t necessarily write down a note or call up your cousin right then and there and invite him to lunch. You can’t go adopt a dog in 5 seconds. And you sure as hell can’t write a book in 5 seconds.

Mel has other suggestions on how to handle this 5-second period, but I’ve been dumping things like this into the appropriately named Things app on my iPhone. It goes like this:

Hey Siri, using Things, remind me to invite my cousin to lunch

That’s it. Now it’s in your inbox. You can figure out the details later, but at least now you have a placeholder / reminder. My Things inbox has grown way too long to be useful in the past (way into the hundreds), but I eventually fought it down, gradually turning this list into projects or reference notes or calendar reminders. I’ve also turned more than 400 fleeting thoughts into a database of book ideas (thanks to Evernote).

The only way I keep my Things inbox under control is to clean out the inbox once a week on Sundays. Usually I have about 40 things for the week to act on, organize, file, or discard. It takes about an hour a week.

And by the way, both this very blog and this specific post came out of a 5-second thought. ๐Ÿค“

Hey Siri, using Things, remind me to check out Mel Robbins and The 5 Second Rule

Apps · Fun

Dad Games

I’m a dad, and a big fan a dad jokes (ask me why I had to break up with my tennis-playing girlfriend…).

But as a dad and former serious gamer, I’ve been having trouble finding time to play serious games. So I was excited to see that Apple had published a list of top-notch casual “Dad games” just for me. ๐Ÿค“

๐Ÿ‘‰ Get Your Dad Into Games

The standouts for me seem to be Old Man’s Journey (“A game about life, loss & hope”) and Brawl Stars (“3v3 and Battle Royale”). ๐Ÿ‘

Me

Three Millions Steps

My Sweatcoin app, which I had reluctantly decided to allow tracking all my steps, reported to me that in 2019, I had walked over 3 millions steps, or the distance from Lubbock (Texas) to Rochester (New York).

This was cool to know, helped inspire me, and turned out to be a surprisingly delightful experience. ๐Ÿ˜€ It’s much better than the usual “medal” or fireworks for doing my regular workouts. Granted, there was a full-year buildup for the one.

My only complaint is that the distance shows up in kilometers. I know this is America-centric of me, but srsly, kilometers? ๐Ÿ™„๐Ÿ˜† I had to convert them to miles on Google to get any real meaning out of it. ๐Ÿคท๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ (It’s 1472 miles.)