Simply Obvious

"A day without sunshine is like, you know, night." - Steve Martin

I stumbled across a tweet this week from Shane Parrish that got me thinking a lot about the simple power of focus.

And while I still need to do a lengthier write-up on how I've been starting to use Apple's new focus modes. Being able to shift things around and reduce attention grabbers automatically has become a surprising source of productivity gains. The next obvious one: deleting stuff off my personal phone.

Yes, let it go. Delete. Breathe. Delete.

As you'd expect — the casualties (sorry, no offense if you work on these) are the attention stealers such as Slack, Teams, work email, and work calendars.

My work life is now constrained to my work laptop. When it's the end of the day, I leave the computer in the home office, and I'm on to other things. I figure enough people have my phone number if an after-hours work emergency happens.

Notifications. Turn them off obviously; I turned off almost all application notifications on my devices. Outside of a few people that I want to ensure the ability to reach me, the constant distraction of News, Instagram, Twitter, etc., is something that I want to eliminate. Gone.

Obviously, next get rid of the useless apps. You know - the apps you download "just in case." If you haven't used it in two months - delete it.

Give it a try for a week, or even better - April. Delete em. See what happens.

Not only is it freeing to declutter oneself, it allows you to focus on the things that matter. Obviously.

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Forward Thinking

I finally got around to listening to the famous episode 42 of Freakonomics called "The Upside of Quitting." The episode centers on the economic concepts of "sunk cost" vs. "opportunity cost":

"Sunk cost" is about the past — it's the time, money, or sweat equity that you've put into something, which makes it hard to abandon.

"Opportunity cost" is about the future. It means that for every hour or dollar you spend on one thing, you're giving up the opportunity to spend that hour or dollar on something else — something that might make your life better. If only you weren't so worried about the sunk cost. If only you could quit.

I talked about this a few weeks ago in "Feed Your Focus":

Feed Your Focus
Maybe it's the times that we live in, two years of sitting inside through a pandemic, or as I age, I’m getting a sense of my own mortality, but I find that I've been spending a lot of time thinking about time, focus and priorities. The big takeaway I've had is that

But I love the framing of this podcast to align the opportunity to do less with sunk cost.

A brilliant listen.

Thought of the week


A post shared by Matt Shirley (@mattsurelee)

Here are a few of the articles and videos that resonated with me over the last week:

  • In one of the best 'letters of note', learn one of the best ways to get out of a speeding ticket in "You will notice that a time-travel option is not included on this model" - More
  • Will Larson (CTO of Calm) has quickly become one of the "thinkers" that I follow daily. In this week favorite post, "Some career advice.", tackles some contradictory ideas when it comes to people and how they navigate career choices - More
  • A humorous take on the new film, The Batman. While I enjoyed the film (my son has seen it a bladder-busting 3 or 4 times already), I kinda agree with "I Am Eight Years Old and Would Like a Batman Movie Aimed at Me, Please" - More
  • John Siracusa writes about "Independence Day"; he's finally 'gone indie' and is talking publicly about leaving a regular job - More
  • "These Ukrainian Runners Are Still Training in a War Zone" is a beautiful read about a commitment to keep active during the Russian invasion - More
  • I liked where the post "Questions, questions" was going; a collection of exciting things to ask of your team members - More
  • Described by the author as 'an accurate way of thinking about this is that it's an ever-advancing process, and though some cyclical moments will stand out more than others, we're always absorbing, processing, refining, and recalibrating our external sensory and experiential apparatuses to account for our expansion, contraction, and recalibration rhythm.' - find out more in "Rebalancing Inputs" - More
  • "Kool-Aid man can burst through walls because he weighs 5.5 tons." is an entertaining video as well as a D&D character sheet dissecting Kool-Aid man. - More
  • File under gross: "British Woman Breaks World Record for Most Chicken McNuggets Eaten in One Minute" - More
  • In his always thought-provoking entries, Om explores "Why iPhone is today's Kodak Brownie Camera." Read about 'that moment reinforced for me the extent to which the iPhone had changed not just the act of photography, but the very notion of photos.' - More
  • With great power comes great responsibility. Nothing to laugh at when an "AI suggested 40,000 new possible chemical weapons in just six hours" - More


No commentary closing this week out. I just had this one in the queue for a bit - "Pink Floyd - When the Tigers Broke Free."

Be well. ✌🏻