Top Ten || November

Here are ten things I'm loving this month that will help you move the needle.

1) Every single Amy Grant Christmas album

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From the 1980s to the 2000s, Amy Grant has cranked out Christmas hits that will make a grown man cry and turn your December into a mix of nostalgia, happiness, and odd looks from other drivers as you blare these songs in your car. I put together a public playlist of every Amy Grant Christmas song available on Spotify. Merry Christmas. 

Now, from this piece of lighthearted holiday cheer to...

2) "'Our minds can be hijacked': the tech insiders who fear a smartphone dystopia" by Paul Lewis

Among other people, Paul Lewis highlights the Facebook engineer who first developed the "like" button and the war he's waged on his own social media use. Like I've said before, I like social media. I like my phone. You might have even found this page via a link to it posted on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram. But, like alcohol, social media and smartphones in moderation are pleasant--in extremes and/or without parameters, devastating.

3) Using notecards as stationary

I ran out of personalized stationary, so I’ve turned to basic notecards for the time being. Throw an address on the front with a stamp, write your message on the back, and off you go. Handwritten notes don’t have to be fancy (but this is still on my Christmas list).

4) Todoist Premium

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I went from being a Wunderlist user on a free plan to a paying Todoist user in a single weekend. I've been implementing David Allen's Getting Things Done methodology this month, and Todoist is the best tool I've found for task and list management. You can create project lists in a hierarchical structure, label items, and use detailed filters to sort tasks strategically. Add calendar integration, location-based reminders, IFTTT recipes, and cross-platform availability, and Todoist Premium is the tool of choice. In a later post I'll share how I use a journal, Todoist, Evernote, and my calendar to organize my life. And, on that note…

5) Getting Things Done - The Art Of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen

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I’m late to the GTD game, but wow, this is sharpening the way I look at my own workflow like almost nothing else I’ve read. At first, I got this book from the library. But then, I came up against the due date because this is less of a book and more of an instruction manual. I’m still not even done with it because every few pages I stop to actually do what the book is telling me to do. This is (and should be) a slow read.

Our life’s projects can often feel out of control and unclear. GTD is a methodology to think critically about all your inputs, giving you more clarity about what your outputs should be. Imagine a life where all your inboxes are at zero and you know clear next steps on everything you want to accomplish. This is GTD.

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6) "Tremble" from Mosaic MSC

This song has been a tremendous encouragement to me this month.

Your name is a light that the shadows can't deny
Your name cannot be overcome
Your name is alive forever lifted high
Your name cannot be overcome

If you don't have Spotify, you can find the song on the Mosaic MSC YouTube channel here.

7) Getting a will in place

Embarrassingly, my wife and I have gone without a formal will. We’ll have one done by the end of the year, and going through the process is clarifying, comforting, and loving to our family. It’s amazing how putting a will together invites you to consider your legacy. If you don’t have a will in place, join me in making it happen by the end of 2017.

8) The Yeti Lowball Cup

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I use mine almost every morning. It’s the perfect size for a cup of coffee and keeps liquids hot without burning your hands. It’s a great companion to your morning routine. And, it makes a great gift for someone else. It’s one of my favorite gifts I’ve received this year.

9) This hanging paper bin

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This is now my “inbox” for all paper things yet to be processed (a GTD recommendation). Having a specific place in my home office (but not on my desk) where I can gather paper-based materials so I can then assign appropriate value to each item systematically is a great way to keep the mind clearer and more focused.

10) IFTTT

IFTTT (If This Then That) makes your different services talk to one another. In a world where we've got different accounts in different places, how can we connect our disparate systems? IFTTT is trying to answer that question. One recipe I'm currently using? Save screenshots you take on your iPhone to an Evernote notebook.