A place to put random occurrences in my life...

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

My Home Screen

Inspired by M.G. Siegler's home screen post, I took a look at my iPhone home screen.  And the disappointment of clear and apparent disorganization immediately set in.  For a time I was a bit OCD in maintaining a clean layout.  Then as time wore on and my collection of apps continued to grow, I became obsessed with putting like apps into their respective folders.  I still had about four pages of icons to go through, not including the folders and so I ultimately resolved to search whenever I wanted to open any application.  Once search became my prevalent mechanism for finding content, my iPhone organization went out the window and I was left with this:

You can see the folder addiction I had, but actually opening anything quickly by clicking through is extremely unlikely; it was all about search for me.  The picture is a bit dated as well, from December 2014.  

I decided to start fresh and cleared out all the apps, moving them to secondary screens.  And then I started adding things back in that I actually seem to be using.  It's been a week or so, and I like where this is headed.  Search is awesome for finding apps that I use once a week or once a month, but it's so much easier to just click from the homescreen to the apps I use on a daily basis.  Here's the new look, along with a new picture of the family (also changed this week), from November 2015:

Starting from the top, the first two apps help me in the morning.  Although I don't come close to day trading, I still have an urge to check the markets at least a couple of times throughout the day.  StockTwits is my default watch list, partially in deference to my partner Howard, and in part because they actually do a great job of surfacing commentary and sentiment around the stocks I'm following, which is just as important as the news around them.  Interestingly, StockTwits just released a cool integration with Slack that enables real time quotes inside of Slack.  The second app is just the weather.  Living in San Francisco means that weather changes are expected when you cross the street, but I still like to get a general sense of what I should expect when I wake up.

The next two apps are the camera and Google Photos.  As a parent of two young kids, fast access to the camera is essential.  And I have a preference for Google Photos over the standard Photos app for numerous reasons including the ability to sync across devices - including deletions.

In the second row, I have Google for all things search (my 6 year old is always asking me things that I have to look up!), FB and Twitter for social (I know, I'm old school for not having SnapChat, WeChat - even FB Messenger!) and Yelp which is still incredibly helpful, at least in San Francisco.

In the third row I have my fitness apps coupled with music.  Spotify and Nike Running definitely go together nicely.  It might be a bit said for me to have Fitbit there, but now that I've committed to at least 70k weekly steps and a minimum of 8k daily steps, I need to check my progress from time to time!

The fourth row is mostly around transportation.  I usually walk from meeting to meeting, but as I find myself in new areas of the city often enough, a quick review of where I'm heading on Google Maps is helpful.  And Uber is there to help when a walk just isn't the thing to do.  Although I have Safari on this row as well, it's actually the one app I haven't opened directly.

The bottom row is for my business communications.  Email has been my default ahead of phone for many years and Google's Inbox is now my favorite interface (on the web and on mobile alike).  Phone and SMS are standard and my current calendaring app is Sunrise, which I've been very happy with for the past few months.  

I still have two more rows to fill up, but I'm now much more selective with the apps that get to live on the home screen.  It will be interesting for me to see how my layout changes over time.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

It's that time of year..

For most of my adult life, I've played the game of making New Years resolutions - mostly around eating less and exercising more.  And for most of that time, just as easily as I made the resolutions, my resolve seemed to fade into the ether.  That's probably the reason I skipped resolutions this past year - why even bother?

But something is different this year.  I'm sharing my resolutions publicly.  I'm hoping that my friends reading this will shame me into keeping the resolve if they see me straying.

On to the list, which of course has the requisite eating and exercising items on it:

  • Drinking - It's a very common thing for me to meet "for drinks".  So common, that I probably do it on average of 3-4 days a week, and some days have more than one such meeting.  In addition, it's pretty rare for me to have dinner and skip a glass - or two - of red wine.  I'm not planning on completely cutting out alcohol, but I am planning on a significant reduction.  With that, I resolve not to drink alcohol more than 2 nights in any week.
  • Eating - I go through spurts of healthy eating but somehow manage to sabotage myself with bad decisions on weeklong vacations, indulging at sporting events, or coming up with other excuses.  At some point in the last year, I tried to go "mostly" Paleo, and think I felt great during that stretch.  I'm going to need my wife's help on this one, but I resolve go all in on Paleo.  I'm looking forward to placing my first MealMade order on Monday. Caveat: by all in, I plan on sticking to the spirit of the plan rather than being absolute - I'm sure I'll still have salad dressing, ketchup and other condiments that don't conform.
  • Walking - I make it a point to walk to my meetings as often as possible.  Once or twice a week, I'll even walk the 3 miles from my house to SoMa - I often spend the time on phone calls so it's quite productive.  I average just over 10k daily steps on a weekly basis (9.5k for the past year as shown in the pic), but the daily totals range from just under 4k steps to over 15k steps.  I want to be more consistent and so I resolve to walk at least 8k steps 6 days per week.  I'm hopeful this will act as a gateway for making healthy choices.

  • Television - I have a habit of turning on the television once the kids go to bed and once on, the tv doesn't turn off until I go to sleep - often 3 or 4 hours later.  Although I tell myself that I'm using the tv as background noise while I work on my laptop, the truth is that whatever I'm working on gets less focus and it takes me longer to complete, and all the while, some useless junk is permeating my brain.  I'm not quite ready to go cold turkey, but I resolve to not watch more than one hour of tv per night.  Caveat: watching football all day does not count as watching tv!
  • Blogging - I keep threatening to write more, but haven't been able to make this a consistent practice.  I'm willing to bet I should be able to manufacture 50 things to write about over the course of this year (first one will be done as soon as I publish this post!), so I resolve to blog at least once per week.
  • Reading - As a kid, I was a very avid reader.  While my parents had visions of me reading the Encyclopedia Brittanica they had purchased for me (it's still in my bookcase at my parents' house), the truth is I was more interested in fiction.  Regardless of the topic, I want to get back to reading something other than the content clicked through various URLs and instead get back to books.  I resolve to read at least one book every month.
These resolutions are invariably linked together and I'm hopeful that doing well with one of them will help me do better with the rest.  Less tv and alcohol will certainly give me more time to read, write and even sleep better (not one of my resolutions, but would be a great side effect of the others).  Let's see what happens!