June 2016 home screen by Will Ringland

Darn tasks undone... 

Darn tasks undone... 

I like to track my home screen changes over time. I've been trying to get shots on the first of every month to understand how my priorities change, what things are important to me or deist reacting me.

What does my home screen mean to me?

The home screen on my phone is my portal to tracking and minor productivity. I desire to minimize distraction - games, notifications, even icons - so I have less cognitive friction to do something useful.

For example, only the following apps are allowed badges: - OmniFocus - Messages - App Store - Settings - Unibox

I have some other notifications set up but they all funnel through my Watch - messages, VIP emails, calendar events. Nothing else.

The idea is that, if I want my attention drawn, I want it drawn to helpful things on my phone. So that's app updates and tasks due today.

What has changed?

I removed one of the virtue tracker app/workflows - Rest. I wasn't using it and didn't care so: gone. The others I'm not super consistent but I just reworked them to require fewer steps to get actually more information.

I ditched MyFitnessPal and I'm thinking about getting it back. I tried 4? Maybe 5? calorie trackers in May and precisely 1 did what I wanted but it had The Worst Interface and food database of any I've tried.

I just want a tracker that can show via a badge how many carbs I've eaten in a day. Apparently I am the only one on Earth that does.


I added FB back. Ehhh....

I deleted Neko Atsume.

I added LinkedIn for a few things in working on. (I really dislike the app and service...)

IG forevahhhh.


So much open space man. So nice. So clean.

I'm considering adding some encouraging text to the bottom of the wallpaper since it's so open. It's kind of part of practicing daily gratitude, part just using space effectively.

I mean I have this huge phone. Why not do something with it?

Does this make me more productive?

Eh? I don't do "useless" things as much but I also don't regularly review my task list. I think I just dislike phones as a whole.

I'd rather carry my iPad and, say, mount it on my monitor to have my task list open constantly rather than carry a phone.

Maybe I just need to set regular task list check in times throughout the day...


On Focus by Will Ringland

Subtitle: Do The #$%!ing Work

I've been attempting to reduce distractions at work (and life) with the desire to be better focused on the things that I do well, that satisfy me, and that I'm best at. This is not simply reducing browsing to Facebook et al.(that is a discipline in which I could use more dots) as well as actively divesting myself of tasks or projects I don't need to be doing. Anything that doesn't meet the above standards is noise even if it is necessary.

Take, for example, design and development triage. All project designs and development my team creates needs to be assigned testers - ditto that of everything coming from outside applications. I do it every morning. I have been doing it every morning for the last 9 years. It's gotten to the point that my team is large enough and on the tail end of enough other stuff that I have been spending 4-7 hours on this every week. When my 1:1 meetings with my team start at 8:30 that generally means most of my open time was taken by these tasks. And if it's a particular busy development week, it can bleed into the afternoon.

That bleed could just murder my focus and productivity for a whole day. Despite that, I don't want to distract my team by giving it up. That's just me being a slacker, right? I own this, I have always owned this!

Well, my views have flipped since returning to work.

When I realized I was going to be out for a few weeks while dad was sick, I reassigned all the triage duties. And while it took six people (yeah, seriously: six) to efficiently divide it, they all did just fine with it. And a few of them enjoyed it. And a few of them were really good at it.

As managers, we tend to be the sort of people that like responsibility. We like being "The Person". The one who owns the thing. We value that expertise in ourselves and in others.

If it is true that we value ownership in our teams, how does it follow that me continuing to own a thing is valuable? Sure, I can do the thing well but couldn't some one (or six some ones) learn to do that too?

Owning a task that no longer enriches your career, that distracts yo from the core functions of your role, that doesn't challenge you is an act of Pride. It no longer serves you but you're not allowing it to serve someone else.

So let it go. Not only do I get that time back but now my team is more engaged in and aware of outside development projects and as more in tune with team workload.

In so thinking, I made the below art to serve as reminder. There are my lock screen and general background on my phone now.


Between Versions by Will Ringland

I thought it would be kind of neat to see how a poem in process can look. Below is a first draft then the current draft of something I'm working on, one of somethings I'm working on if you count everything tagged with wip.

Most of the time, i write an entire poem in a sinle setting. Most of waht I produce is short and has a few key ideas I'm trying to hit. I'll tweak that draft until I like the phrasing and clarity and what have you and call it a 1st draft.

Here is an example 1st draft:

Awake. This isn't my
House. This isn't
My life. Where is
My car, the dappled white
Fluff that grounds me, that
Covers the sheets
Like dusty clouds
Rolling over the hillside.

This isn't my house
This isn't my
Wife sleeping beside me
Where is her soft
Voiced snoring just at the
Back of the throat that whistles
Like wind between

Awake and wondering
Through the lonesome mind
Aware enough to know this
Isn't my house. I do not live here
There must be
Some mistake that you were taken from
Me last night under cold sheets.
This was our house and the
Hills and trees are bare
Long before winter even arrives.

I'll let this sit for a few days to a few weeks. This, in particular, I wrote first on 8/22. When I'm good on my morning routine (or occasionally over lunch), I'll open up my WIP tagged pieces and rework something that is familiar but unfamiliar.

That is, I remember writing the poem or the mood or some of the language but not the specifics. I'll re-read it keep what I remembered in mind. I duplicate the poem and start re-writing it.

Ideally, there is a core image or tone or mood that I try to emphasize. I'll pick out some phrasing or a metaphor and try to repeat or extend that through the rest of the poem. The stuff I like the most tends to have one core idea and one major metaphor that is peppered in the stanzas and builds to some sort of crescendo.

Awake and cold,
A creeping morning apprehension.
This isn't my
house. This isn't
my cat? Where is
the dappled white fur
that covered the sheets
like wild flowers on a hillside.

This isn't my
house. This isn't my
wife? Where is her soft
voiced sibilance that settled
at the back of the throat
like wind through open petals.

Awake and cold
And creeping through my
lonesome mind. Aware. Enough.
This isn't my life. I loved here
when the sheets were speckled and
warm and rising with rhythm.
The flowers are long dead
before my winter arrives.

Here, I've tightened up the language and made the wild flower references a bit firmer. I've extended the questioning mood, both literally in the mirrored inteorragative statemnts and with the overall poetic feel, and tried to ally it with the core metaphor.

I've now repeated some of the language - like the question over house and "creeping". I"ve definitely added more reference to the flower imagery. I've added more alliteration and especially more consonance. I'm a sucker for good consonance but tend to overuse it and I'm questioning it here, especially in the last stanza.

Though I think it is better, it's really not done nor particular good (to me). I will tag this as "edited" then leave myself some notes, like what I said above, for when I return to it. Generally, I try to have many fewer days between 2nd and third drafts but that depends on what I write over the next few days.