Noizio

Noizio is a slick, flexible, and free(!) app that plays ambient sounds. I just installed it on my Mac and iPhone to use when listening to music isn’t proper for the task at hand.1

The current version offers fifteen ambient sounds. I dig the simplicity and ability to mix the various sounds at different volumes. Saving different “Mixtures” will be fun to try.

If you’re a fan of Coffitivity, Noizio is worth checking out. :)

Just turn on the sound and allow yourself to become engulfed in the tranquil sounds of nature. Whether you wish to feel as if you’re sitting near a fireplace under a cozy blanket, or that you’re meditating on a desolate sea shore as gusts of wind ruffle your hair, Noizio will be there to set the mood. With this ambient sound equalizer, not only will you be able to relax, but you will also increase your productivity, as you’re trying to concentrate on your work!


  1.  Playing in the background while I write this post: Campfire, Winter Wind, and Deep Space. 

Things: Faux running to-dos

I was working on a to-do in Things that I didn’t finish today, but wanted to make sure it was:

  • Noted in the Logbook when my completed to-dos are archived at the end of the day, and
  • Copied to the my scheduled tasks for the next day…

all from the keyboard within a few seconds.

(Aside: Seeing the completed to-dos in my Logbook is more visible as something I worked on that day. The alternative is not keeping the to-do as incomplete, and adding notes to the to-do.)

Steps

  1. Duplicate the item by pressing ⌘+D (Command–D).
  2. Complete one of the items by pressing ⌘+. (Command–Period).
  3. Arrow down () to select the other duplicated item.
  4. Reschedule for tomorrow by pressing Control+] (Control–right bracket).

Why not make a new project in Things?

The project is on an Automattic internal P2. I’ve kept it as a single to-do in Things, and kept recreating it if I couldn’t mark the P2 thread as resolved.

And…I’ve talked myself into realizing that I should create a project for this. Starting…

Increasing use of Siri

I’ve been experimenting with using Siri more often. When I use compatible verbal commands, they’re faster than manually typing my requests. Some ideas:

  • Set alarms or timers.
  • Add an event to your calendar.
  • Add to-dos to Reminders. (e.g. Remind me about this email/webpage tomorrow.)
  • Add a to-do to a specific Reminders list (e.g. Groceries). Bonus tip: If you want to add another item to the same Reminders list, you can tap the microphone icon and continue. For example, “Also add spinach.”
  • Check weather.
  • Open apps. (Perhaps they’re buried beyond your home screen, and will take more than a few swipes.)

Some people mentioned Siri recently, which prompted me to give this a try. In the Back to Work podcast, Merlin Mann and Dan Benjamin discussed iOS 9 and improved Siri functionality earlier last month:

Nick Momrik mentioned a few handy examples. Apple also has a few iOS 9 tips and tricks for iPhone.

Simplenote: Embed Ideas and Tips

I was reading an internal P2 at work1, and saw a note beautifully embedded in a post. I’d like to share some thoughts on doing this.

Add a tag for quicker reference. When I don’t want to search for these by typing.

Tagged “siteEmbed”, place one note on your WordPress.com site to keep an ephemeral realtime status. I have date and time buttons in my custom keyboard when writing in Drafts for iOS, and a snippet in Alfred for a time stamp (keyword: “fts”). Copy to clipboard, paste in Simplenote.

Your team can display the status of their projects or active to-dos on a single page. Each member embeds their published note. Rather than wading thru the text from other members, you’d only see your own items when editing in Simplenote. Tag: “TeamEmbed”. (I just thought of this.)

Another note can be your Logbook, which could be on another page in your team P2. Each member embeds this published note, too. (Tag: “Logbook”.)

Once a week, the completed items from the previous note — active projects and to-dos — get cut and pasted into this note (Logbook) with dated headings. At the end of the year, those get copied permanently, and a new Logbook page/note is created for the new year.

Keep a team status page (working, ticket queue status, AFK, errands, nap, jog, vacation2). Editing your own status in Simplenote on your phone is quicker than editing the P2 page. And, again, you wouldn’t need to edit the status of your other colleagues.

Wow. That all sounds great! 😎


  1. Automattic. We’re looking for Happiness Engineers — join us
  2. I need to test Markdown image support. I could use Cloudup from my iPhone, then share a photo while on vacation or something. Update: Markdown images won’t auto embed within a Simplenote embed. Not a deal breaker for me, it would’ve been fun. 😄 

Things: Repeating Projects!

Things - Repeating Projects

Browsing the Cultured Code support pages, I stumbled onto this gem, “Creating Repeating To-Dos“:

If you have an entire set of to-dos which need to be repeated on the same day, group them inside a project and then repeat that entire project.

Regarding project templates, I shared this idea:

Important weekly/monthly checklists

I grouped recurring (predefined) to-dos by adding repeating projects. This allows me to:

  • Focus on doing work.
  • Keep the Logbook “clean” going forward, and
  • Save time from manually copying the to-dos.

David Allen might not condone having the Today focus overflowing with to-dos and projects because some of the items don’t need to be completed that day. However, I know I have the freedom to reschedule or delete items for another day.

(By the way, the Logbook displays all to-dos and projects marked as completed or canceled, regardless of importance or length of time to completion. The repeating projects I share in the above screenshot image—and list below—aren’t that notable.)

If I see a long list of to-dos in the Logbook, where many took 5–10 minutes to complete1, and the large remaining chunk of time is dedicated for the main part of my job, it can be more difficult to identify the higher impact projects or to-dos2.

Here are my current ones:

  • Work (Weekdays) — Triage a few ticket queues.
  • Work (Weekdays) — Work in our regular ticket queues.
  • Home (Monthly, three days before the last day of the month) — Prepare and mail our rent check.

As an example, our landlord requests a mailed check for our rent payment (project3 and successful outcome). Here are the to-dos needed to mark this project as completed:

  • Write rent check.
  • Print USPS label.
  • Mail rent check.

I’d love to hear your ideas! Please share them in the comments, or publish a new post on your own blog, and link back to this one. :)


  1. Examples of minor to-dos at work: catch up on reading P2 threads, or watching new intro videos. 
  2.  Writing this post, I realize I can make this easier by adding a tag to filter the Logbook. It’s exactly what I did to single out the three repeating projects in the image. 
  3. If you’re using a task manager with tasks and subtasks, the main task would be “Mail rent check”, and the two subtasks would be (1) write rent check, and (2) print USPS label. The subtasks would need to be completed before the main task. 

Portable inbox acquired

I finally have a set of Lightahead® LA-7550 clear document snap button color document folders, which I’ll use for my inbox in a few places:

  • Backpack: Coworking or traveling.
  • Suitcase: Traveling, papers to shred.
  • Car

Following GTD methodology, these folders will keep loose papers in one place when I’m away from my home office. When I return, I dump them all into the inbox on my desk.

When I’m on a trip, I scan receipts with my iPhone 6 into Scanner Pro, and those receipts can be shred safely. To keep the edges clear, I’ll label one of the folders accordingly.

Remember: If you don’t have an inbox, everything is your inbox!