Matthew Gifford

Weekend notes: 4/9/17

Better late than never

I am that guy who responds to “How are you doing?” with “Busy, as usual.” Who, when asked why this or that thing didn’t get done, says, “I didn’t have time.”

Someone close to me recently brought to my attention how selfish that attitude is. I was essentially walking around telling people “I’m important, distracted, and tired because of all the things I have going on” and “I don’t care about that thing you asked me to do that you thought was important.” What an asshole.

So, why haven’t I written here in over a month? I had more important things to do. Like my job. And wrestling with my kids. And getting enough sleep.

And helping my wife run her new business. I have a newfound respect for people who sell a physical product. Ordering, photography, data entry, storage, budgeting, marketing, shipping. So much to do.

When there’s a lot to do, it’s easy to lose track of what’s important. There is some satisfaction in filling a to-do list with long lists of small tasks and then plowing through them. But I realized that I was on a treadmill, making no real progress toward any larger goals.

A few weeks ago, in an attempt to jolt myself out of that habit, I replaced my text-file to-do list with a fancy notebook: a black Leuchtterm1917 medium hardcover with dotted pages.

I chose it because it seems to be the favorite of people who use the Bullet Journal system, which is close to what I was doing with my text-file to-do list. But if I’m doing essentially the same thing in physical form, what’s the point?

The difference seems to be that the inefficiency of having to write everything out by hand acts as a sort of forcing function. Because managing my tasks now requires more work, I put a little more consideration into what I should and shouldn’t be doing. It’s a bit of a pain in the ass to write items that I don’t complete day after day. Enough that it compels me to either complete the task or decide that it’s not important enough to do.

So far, I’m very happy with the results.

RIP Lucky Peach

I’m almost embarrassed by how bummed out I am that Lucky Peach is ending. It’s one of the smartest, wittiest, rawest things being produced. I don’t know what I’m going to replace that part of my life with. It’s nice to know I’m not the only one who feels that way.


Mastodon is the latest Twitter-killer du jour. As a chronic early-adopter, I have abandoned accounts on most of the next-big-thing social networks. This one feels different. It reminds me of early Twitter. There’s a lot of energy there. It might not kill Twitter. But I don’t think it’s going to fizzle out anytime soon. You can find me at

April 9, 2017

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