trms links #2

Here’s some more cool stuff from the Internet.

  • GTD in 15 minutes. The world of productivity on the internet is full of snake oil. There is a method, however, which is simple and has found success with many, me included. This website explains David Allen’s Getting Things Done method quickly, for free, with no tricks or things to sell you.
  • SankeyMATIC Beta. Sankeys are these graphs, like the one on the right. This website allows you to create one in a relatively quick and easy manner. They’re a good way to confirm your suspicions about where your money went this month.
  • The TeX FAQ List. I had a lot of fun a little ago writing this post about how to get started with LaTeX for beginners. This link is right up that alley, as the TeX FAQ List is, as you might surmise, a rather comprehensive list of all questions a (La)TeX user might have, answered in a clear and easy to understand way.
  • I Love PDF is a website I come back to time and time again. Anything you might want or need to do with PDF files, such as splitting, merging, or converting them, you can do there, for free. Sure, there are offline solutions, but this is pretty convenient.
  • OmniAtlas. I love maps. I love history. For people like me, OmniAtlas is a feast for the eyes, with plenty (currently 747!) of historical maps. Get on it.

trms links #1

A collection of interesting things I find around the Internet.

Tech

  • nanoc, a simple, lightweight, open-source, extensible framework for small static sites and blogs
  • miraheze.org. Ever wished you could have your own Wikipedia? You can easily and for free at Miraheze, with no catch and no ads.
  • keybr. Touch typing is arguably among the must-have skills in the modern age. Keybr teaches you how to do that and provides you with a way to practice your speed, at any level. I’ve used it for literally hours. (proof)

Knowledge

  • Our World in Data, in-depth research about our world (literally!) using data. Their blog is immensely insightful and one I highly recommend following.
  • Books by People at Edge.org. Unsure about what to read next? This is a constantly-updated list of books written by people at Edge.org, researchers who are leaders in their field. (including Richard Dawkins, Jared Diamond, Steven Pinker, and more.)

You Need a Quarterly Review

In this post I will tell you why you need a quarterly review and what one is.

Why?

I believe I can say with confidence that most of us are so deeply concerned with running our life on a day-to-day basis that we often forget about the long term. What is it that you are trying to achieve, exactly? Being productive every day feels great, but what are you ultimately working towards? I feel this kind of question should not be relegated to the back burner, and instead should be something we should aim to answer more often than we currently do. At the same time, however, we still do need to run our day-to-day affairs.

Extreme focus on the short term causes long-term blindness. Extreme focus on the long-term causes short-term blindness. We thus should aim to strike a balance of sorts, where we can still run our daily life while also being concerned about where the road is going. For me, this balance is satisfied by performing a general review of my life every three months. I will now show you what this review looks like, so that you may do it too, if you so chose.

What?

Put simply, every review, I answer a series of questions about my life during the three months that passed and the three months that will follow. This allows me to evaluate my performance in the past and make changes in the future to better align myself with my long-term goals. This is what some sample questions would look like (click or tap to expand):

Of course, the questions vary from person to person, and I would highly recommend you take the time to think about them. This is, I think, very much part of the process of understanding your medium- and long-term self. I like to make categories first, and then to come up with questions related to such categories. This is why I used a mind map (done with the excellent mind-mapping software MindNode,) as it allows me to visually branch out categories and questions.

As you can see, every question about the past three months is paired with a question about the next. This is crucial, as performing a quarterly review without thinking about how one could be better in the future is, I think, not as useful an enterprise.

If after reading this post you too start to do such a review, I would love to hear your feedback.