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.

The Archive Custom Theme: iA Writer

The Archive is an outstanding piece of software for personal knowledge management, especially of the kind I spoke about in my last post. Among its strengths1 is its custom theme engine, allowing users who are willing to tweak a few .json files to create new color schemes from scratch. Since I love iA Writer‘s design, I thought: why not make The Archive look like Writer? So that’s what I did, and you can download the results.

To download the themes, right-click on the themes you want below and save the files in a place you’ll remember. Then, open The Archive’s preferences and go to the Theme tab. Click on “Open Theme Manager” then “Open Theme Directory.” Move the files you downloaded there.

Dark ThemeLight Theme

I tried to stick as closely as possible to Writer’s color palette, in both its light and dark mode. I highly recommend using one the same fonts Writer uses, which they graciously release for free to the public.

Changelog

  • 1.0: Initial release
  • Dark 1.1: Fixed the unfocused background selection color. Huge thanks to reader Sebastian for the heads-up!

Learning Regular Expressions

Some other blogs I follow have recently been writing about the beauty and utility of regular expressions. I love regular expressions. Spending a couple of minutes learning them is a great investment, as the time you’ll save later will be many orders of magnitude larger than that. It just makes sense from so many perspectives. You don’t even have to be a programmer to benefit from them, as shown here. They just make you a better computer user.

While the posts do mention some incredibly solid sources to learn regexes from, such as the BBEdit User Manual, they still may be a little too daunting for the “rest of us.” That, for me, is where RegexOne comes into play, which no one has (as far as I can see) mentioned so far.

The whole website is, essentially, one smooth tutorial which will teach you regexes from the bottom up, easing you in one bit at a time, without ever overwhelming you. It’s well-paced, highly interactive, and exactly the sort of thing I’d take on as a little weekend project. I’ve used it to learn regexes back in the day and occasionally come back to it from time to time. It’s great.