Jack Baty

Director of Unspecified Services

Reset to Defaults

2022-05-20 Workflow

A week ago I did that thing where I blow up my system because I noticed I’d been doing that other thing where I spend all my time tweaking everything.

I’m calling it an experiment, and I’m naming it “Reset to Defaults”.

The idea is to revert to stock macOS apps where feasible, or simple and established apps otherwise, and avoid tools that lend themselves to constant tweaking. This hurts because tweaking is what I spend much of my time doing. I enjoy it! But, it’s a distraction and I should do less of it. To this end, I’ve restructured task management, blogging, journaling, note-taking, photo editing, file management, etc.

Yesterday I wrote that I no longer wanted to talk about my process. Yet, here I am talking about my process. I’m doing it because this is what helps me sort things out and remember how they were sorted. So, what the hell, let’s make it a blog post.

Here’s what I’m trying.

Apple Reminders for task management. Reminders has gotten much better recently. There’s smart lists, tags, the works. It’s a very capable app and integrates with everything, so I’m trying it. This change has the highest chance of failure, because I don’t like Reminders. I don’t like how it feels or how it handles notes or how I need to click in a certain area to select things or that it adds a new reminder every time I simply click in an empty space below the list. Anyway, we’ll see. There’s a 50% chance I’ll be back in Things and a 25% chance I’ll be back in Org mode for my tasks.

Apple Notes for notes. What?! That’s right, I’m writing all my “evergreen” notes in Apple’s venerable Notes app. I have to say, Notes is really nice, once one lets go of “IT MUST BE MARKDOWN” or whatever. It doesn’t have to be Markdown, btw, if you’re not converting your writing to HTML or some other format. I have zero fear of lock-in and there are various methods of saving notes as text or other formats. I’m trying to get over wringing my hands about all that.

Day One for personal journaling. I have 3,671 entries in Day One going back to 2011. Each of them has location and weather info, along with date and time. Many have photos or other images. I can filter and export them any way I see fit, to text, Markdown, PDF, or HTML. I can order a nice printed book from any selection of entries. I can journal on my iPhone or iPad. I can hook it into other tools using the CLI if I want. And I spend almost no time tweaking it. I just type and save. Day One was my default journaling app for years and I’m going to try it again for a while.

WordPress for blogging. I know, I know, we’ve all been around this block before. But using a CMS that does everything, pretty easily, and without much fuss is what I’m looking for right now, so WordPress it is.

Of course there are always a bunch of supporting players, and I’m evaluating how I use those too. For now, this feels like I’m using the tools that I would use if I didn’t think too hard about tooling. Let’s see what happens this time.


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