This morning, over on The Sweet Setup, I published a pretty hefty guide to iOS Shortcuts.

Basically, there is so much you can do with the Shortcuts app on your iPhone and iPad — especially so with iOS 13 and iPadOS. And so I wanted to create a central spot for folks to grasp the the why behind why Shortcuts is so awesome, and then also have some clear next steps for how to start building shortcuts and automations of their own.

There are links to all sorts of incredible Shortcuts resources, including examples, Shortcuts libraries, and even stuff around home automation.

I’ve found that as people start to get familiar with how Shortcuts can help them, then they start having all sorts of light-bulb moments. (And no, that’s not a HomeKit joke, but it should have been.)

For example: The gym I go to makes its members keep and scan one of those small, plastic barcode keychain things whenever you check in at the front desk. And if you forget to bring yours then they charge you $1.

But… if you have a photo of the barcode card on your phone, then that works, too.

So I snapped a photo of the barcode card, dropped that photo into its own photo album on my iPhone, and then created a location-based automation Shortcut that gets the most recent photo from that album whenever I arrive at the gym.

Which means that now, when I am walking in the door of my gym, Shortcuts has automatically pulled up the photo I need for me. So simple, but also so handy.

Anyway, you should check out the iOS Shortcuts Guide here.

iOS Shortcuts: The Ultimate Guide

Today is a Tuesday in September, and September is the new January, and we’ve just opened up registration for The Focus Course.

This is the best stuff I’ve got for those of you who want to improve how you spend your time. Perhaps you’re just feeling overwhelmed. Or maybe you’re in the midst of a big life transition. Or, maybe you’ve got some creative work and ideas inside you and it’s a struggle to show up every day and do your best creative work.

The Focus Course is for you. Registration is open for just a few days. So if you want to get in and get access, this is your chance. On to the day!

The Focus Course: Fall Registration Now Open

If you want to use your iPad more, GoodNotes is a tool you will want in your iPad tool belt.

As I’ve been sharing lately, I am using this app more and more — even as a full-on replacement for my physical notebook.

We just opened up doors for our brand-new GoodNotes course that also includes a slew of custom templates that I’ve designed. I think you might really enjoy using these, and even get a spark of inspiration for how you can use GoodNotes — and your iPad — more often.

Custom Productivity Templates and Video Training for GoodNotes

A Small Observation About the iPad and Note Taking

A couple weeks ago I hosted my third annual Breckenridge mastermind retreat.

And I noticed something was different this year compared to the previous years: The most common note-taking tool was an iPad (with GoodNotes).

There were 11 of us there. And of the group:

  • 6 were using an iPad.
  • 2 used Macs.
  • 2 had a pen and notebook.
  • And one odd bird did not take notes at all (that I noticed).

Of the 6 on an iPad, only one had a 3rd-party keyboard (Brydge). The rest of us were using GoodNotes and an Apple Pencil.

A Small Observation About the iPad and Note Taking

My good friend Havilah Cunnington recently shared on her Instagram about the pain of choosing to turn down a huge opportunity because it conflicted with her boys’ first days back in school.

I so appreciated Havilah’s transparency on this. Especially sharing about how sometimes, when you say no to an opportunity, it doesn’t come back around.

The truth is, we can’t do everything. Sometimes we can’t do everything because we literally don’t have the time and energy.

But sometimes we can’t do everything because something that’s great has to give way to something that is essential.

Living into our values means there will be trade-offs. And sometimes those trade-offs are not easy to accept.

Trade-Offs in Real Life

Seth Godin:

When you live in surplus, you can choose to produce because of generosity and wonder, not because you’re drowning.

And the wonderful thing about choosing to live in surplus is that it’s up to you. Your definition of surplus — and the actions you take in order to live that way — are your own.

Living in Surplus

Mike Schmitz, writing over on The Sweet Setup:

We’ve noticed that the way people use their technology has changed over time.

In short, we’re consuming instead of creating. By default, we’re constantly chasing “more.”

The Sweet Setup will be six years old later this fall. And we have been thinking and talking a lot about how we can better serve our readers. We will continue to find and surface the best apps. But we are also wanting to find more ways to help you use your apps and gadgets with efficiency and intentionality.

A Mindful Approach to Technology

Dam Foggy

Bull Shoals Dam

Over the summer, some friends and I went to Bull Shoals for camping and spearfishing.

After our first day there I noticed that in the early mornings and in the evenings the river would get a huge blanket of fog. So I spent part of my afternoon scouting out some spots that I wanted to shoot from. And then, once the evening fog rolled in, I would be prepared — knowing exactly where I wanted to be and what shots I wanted to get.

Here are a few of those foggy dam shots. I have some other shots of the river bank that I’ll post later.

Bull Shoals Dam

Bull Shoals Dam

Bull Shoals Dam

Shot with the Leica Q and edited in VSCO on my iPad Pro.

Dam Foggy

If you want to get access to The Margin Course, you must sign up now.

We are closing the doors tonight at midnight EST.

This course is so timely and important. I have seen first hand the positive impact of Margin in my own life and in the lives of my loved ones. And I have also seen the challenges that a life without margin brings.

If you’re on the fence about the course, then take 3 minutes to watch this video:

And then, use this link to register before it’s too late:

thefocuscourse.com/margin

Last Call for The Margin Course

Here’s How I Hold on to Margin

First off, thanks so much to all the kind and positive replies to my story from Friday about the tumor they found in my wife’s eye.

It was not easy for me to write that story. But I wanted to share it because it hits on a deeper topic that I think is so important and timely right now.

As I wrote, the thing about Margin is that you can’t go get some in the moment when you need it. Because when you need it, you need it right away.

You either have the margin you need, or you don’t.

. . . .

The story I shared on Friday was a difficult example of how margin helped my wife and I make it through an extremely challenging time without being left completely broken in the end.

Today I want to share a few other examples of what it looks like for me to prioritize living with Margin in my life.

Time to read

The average American watches 5 hours of TV every day! Five hours! As much as I love Downton Abbey, I get more rejuvenation from a book. And so I choose to spend time reading each day. (And yes, I definitely do binge watch a show from time time time.)

Time to exercise

I also prioritize my physical health. It rarely ever feels convenient to do a workout, but that hasn’t stopped me from working out every single day for over 300 days in a row now. I make the time for it because working out does more than just give my energy. It also helps me think more clearly during the day.

Financial Breathing Room

With finances, I living well beneath my means. I have a healthy emergency fund in place for my both my family as well as my business. It’s enough to keep us afloat for several months in case all income were to completely get cut off.

Less frustrated at my kids (hashtag the struggle is real)

My wife and I have three boys. They are 2, 5, and 7 years old. And they are exploding with energy and fart jokes (and real farts, too).

Our evenings of dinner time and bedtime are crazy! And it used to be that I would regularly find myself frustrated and short with my kids.

But a year ago, I noticed a lot of my frustration was beginning to dissipate.

In the spring of last year I chose to try an experiment by cutting back on my hours and responsibility at work. I gave up little bits of control over certain projects, and setting boundaries around how much I would work each day. Then, I filled that time with a focus on my physical and spiritual health.

After I had reclaimed margin at work and in my physical health, I discovered that I had also been able to calm down emotionally as well.

I wasn’t so on edge in the evenings. I had more patience. I could be more present in the moment, and honestly just enjoy my boys for who they are.

. . . . .

If you are at your limit, then you have no margin. You have nothing left to draw on in your times of need or overwhelm.

Margin is a choice.

And I choose a life WITH margin.

At times it’s not easy.

Which is why many folks feel that they just can’t do it.

Perhaps you see margin as a luxury you can’t afford.

You are counting yourself out…

…saying that you don’t have the margin you need in the first place in order to get the margin you need.

Not true.

And that’s what The Margin Course is all about.

You CAN restore breathing room to an overwhelmed and busy life, even when you don’t have the time.


If you want to get access to everything I have about Margin, you need to act soon.

Tomorrow — Monday, August 5th — is the last day to sign up before we close registration.

thefocuscourse.com/margin

Here’s How I Hold on to Margin