It’s Thanksgiving week in the United States, an opportunity to think about what we are grateful for this year before the crazy holiday season takes off. We take note of the technology, entertainment, science, people (and one pet) that have made our lives better this year.
In this week’s episode, James tells Jean the story of how the fate of a five dollar connector can immediately reorder your priorities, change the course of your day, and even get your cat to lick the kitchen floor. Jean talks about her delicious upcoming weekly to-do while James gets ready to say farewell to a trusty old MacBook Pro.
We talk about the Ultimate Productivity Lesson, prompted by Ridwan in his post on the brevity of life. You can keep checking off items on your to-do list, until that Big Check-Off. In case you think it will be a downer, we manage to stay pretty chipper about the whole topic.
As the year winds down to its final two months, Jean and James discuss where 2021 has gone. Conversation turns to taking a few moments to do a personal year in review before the holidays begin. Jean accomplishes a deferred task in a short amount of time. James returns from Hawaii with some logistical issues further complicated by an unexpected acquisition.
This week, James comes to us from Hawai’i, where he is mostly on vacation. His weekly to-do was “play ukulele,” which (spoiler alert) he managed to accomplish. We chat about how we manage mixing work with vacation.
Jean is still having trouble placing one phone call, and would have been happy to talk about Dune all episode long, if only James had also seen it.
James and Jean have known for a while that Apple would be releasing new MacBook Pro laptops. That created a project—decide on which MBP to buy and place an order—that was on hold until now, even if we never actually added it to our trusted systems. James has completed this project, Jean is still working on it. In other news, James’ house is now earthquake-resistant and laundry-capable, wrapping up a couple of other long-standing projects.
What happens after you finish that big project? How do you feel afterwards? This episode Jean and James talk about what Jean has dubbed the ’post-productivity hangover’. For Jean, there can be a feeling of not knowing what to focus on next. For James, there is a seemingly inevitable period of being in a funk for at least a few days. Plus, earthquakes, laundry, song liner notes, and concomitant Swedish death cleaning.
Coincidentally, both James and Jean launched their unannounced projects this week, and now they can finally talk about them! James released a new single, One More Thing…, a tribute to Steve Jobs on the 10th anniversary of his death, a collaboration of over 30 musicians. Jean worked on the release a major new version of the app Kaleidoscope, recently acquired by her developer friends in Germany and Austria.
Listen to One More Thing… by James Dempsey and the Breakpoints:
In this episode Jean and James allude to some projects they are working on but aren’t able to talk about just yet. The discussion includes how accomplishing tasks can be very different when working on things that need to be kept under wraps. James talks a bit about working on a top secret project at Apple and how even the best laid plans of secrecy can leave unexpected gaps.
In this episode Jean and James talk about the recent Apple event and whether any of the newly announced products will make them more (or less) productive. James promises to put away some papers and reveals a bit more about his as yet unannounced project. Jean has an mystery project of her own and also reveals a little trick to help you play your guitar or other instrument more.
In this episode Jean takes a first action that snowballs into accomplishing a whole project. James encounters an unexpected obtacle while trying to accomplish what is usually a routine task. The conversation turns to handling the unexpected including home warranties, AAA, and Apple Care. Plus, an air of mystery surrounds an unannouced project.
It’s back-to-school season, which sparks Jean to review her GTD strategy and to re-evaluate whether there isn’t room for improvement. She did her homework, reading some interesting articles, and decided it was time to go back to two tried-and-true tools.
This week, James and Jean met up in person at the 360|iDev conference in Denver. Despite the thin air, we were able to eke out a podcast recording in person. We talk about the effect of travel and socializing on productivity (more naps needed!), and how much we enjoyed performing a live show with our Breakpoint friends, both new and old.
Jean and James are both heading to 350iDev in Denver next week and have chosen their weekly todos with travel in mind. Topics include retirement planning, processing stacks of papers, James’ Disneyland map collection, and the benefits of free money. James attempts to keep a habit streak going while on the road and Jean brings along some books to help her thrive and prosper.
Jean and James talk about how things at a macro level, like the pervasive spread of the Delta variant, and at a micro level, like unpacking a suitcase and finding shards of glass, can conspire to demotivate you. Conversation also turns to whether there should be a different category for projects besides ‘Active’ and ‘Someday / Maybe’. Plus a short discourse about a novelty Star Trek t-shirt.
Shopping for new Apple products was a big topic this week. Jean is ready to splurge on the AirPods Max and the HomePod mini, while James treated himself to a new keyboard with Touch ID. Of course, all of these purchases have productivity bonuses, no rationalizations here. 😏
Jean and James talk about the dilemna of things that hold sentimental value or other meaning. After a week clearing things from the house where he grew up in NJ, James finds that some things don’t feel right to simply throw away, but don’t have a real practical use either. Jean plans Micro Camp and approaches the finish line on a major project while James approaches a classic NJ pizza.
This episode Jean and James are in the ballpark of closing loops in progress. Jean moves closer to completing the sale of her house. James thought he would be closing a long-standing loop by bringing his car in for service for the day, but it was not as easy as that. Plus, James goes to an actual ballpark.
In this episode Jean and James talk about open loops that aren’t tasks to be done but life’s little mysteries to be investigated. James tells the story of a few household mysteries deferred and eventually solved and the satisfaction that brings. Jean gives an update on her house sale and move. Finally a brief discussion of everybody’s favorite productivity topic—puddles.
Jean talks about her experience over the last month, working with a professional organizer to clear all the stuff out of her house, hold an estate sale, and downsize for her new apartment. From the style of an organizer to the nitty gritty of what they can do, there is a lot to think about when hiring a professional. In Jean’s case, it’s been a fantastic experience and a way to stay sane during the course of moving.
In this episode Jean and James talk about recovering after a week focusing on the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC). James ended up underneath an avalanche of email larger than usual, even after such a busy week. Conversation turns to causes for the James’ overstuffed inbox. Jean gives an update on her move. Jean and James lament over Apple Fitness stand goals and broken streaks.
We didn’t do a weekly review, but we really focused on the important must-dos this week. James debuted a new song Futureproof at the latest LIVE near WWDC extravaganza, which also featured a remote panel of Breakpoints who have played with James over the years. Jean held an estate sale at her house to clear out furniture and items that are still useful or valuable to other people. We were both a bit overwhelmed by these huge projects, and we do an even shorter episode than last week.