“NaNoBlogMo”?

On Twitter, I have been posting links to my daily articles with a preface of which NaNoBlogMo day it is. Like so:

Several folks have asked me if, technically, it should be “NaBloWriMo” instead?

You see, the original and popular name for writing in November is NaNoWriMo for National Novel Writing Month.

And so shouldn’t my change be NanBloWriMo for National Blog Writing Month?

Maybe. But, for one, it’s not really national blog writing month. I only know a handful of folks who are participating.

And, secondly, I prefer the spin and the play on words with NaNoBlogMo

…I like how it says “blog more” right there, in the name.

(h/t @jamesclear)

“NaNoBlogMo”?

Annoyed Today, Nostalgic Tomorrow

Yesterday, after putting my 3 boys to bed, I was walking upstairs and encountered a fight scene on pause…

After dinner, all three boys had been at the top of the stairs playing together. My older two were having a battle with their dragon and triceratops LEGOs while my youngest was casually driving his little red fire truck around.

They had to stop playing LEGOs once it was time to get ready for bed, so they just up and left everything right where they were playing with it. And so, after the crazy-time bedtime routine, once everyone was asleep and I was walking up the stairs to my room, that’s when I encountered the fight scene which had been left there on the very top step.

I had to step up and over it all to avoid breaking anything.

And, to be candid, the left-out LEGOs totally frustrated me.

I was annoyed at my boys for leaving their toys out and forgetting to clean up before bed.

I was annoyed at myself for not noticing they had left their toys out and thus not reminding them — and “teaching” them — to clean up after themselves.

I honestly thought about “accidentally” stepping on the dragon and then telling my son it wasn’t my fault because he shouldn’t have left it there. (Let that be a lesson!)

I thought about what if there was an emergency in the middle of the night and I had to rush down the stairs but stepped on the dragon in the process and how bad that would hurt with bare feet and what if it even caused me to tumble forwards down the steps and break my wrist. Don’t my kids think about these things when they decide to leave their toys at the top of my stairs?

Yeah. So much drama for so little of a thing.

. . . . .

And so, as I picked up the dragon and the dino, and moved them over to the side near the wall, I considered the fact that in a few years from now I will miss these on-pause toy fight scenes.

One day, my boys will be grown and they will move out to live on their own. And my wife and I will finally live in a clean and quiet house. And we will miss the days, like this one, when toys were left on our steps and our boys were at home in the evenings to play and to laugh and fight about whose turn it is to brush their teeth first.

And so I try to remind myself in those moments of annoyance that the things which frustrate me now will one day be the things I will miss terribly and wish for again.

Annoyed Today, Nostalgic Tomorrow

How to Edit and Organize the Shortcuts in Your iPad Home Screen Widget

One of the best new features in iPadOS has been the addition of the Today View on the iPad Home Screen.

There are a few reasons I like it. For one, it just looks better than the plain grid of icons. But, more importantly, the Today View improves the functionality of the first Home Screen by turning the Home Screen into a home base rather than just a spring board.

I have especially love having the iOS Shortcuts Widget right there on the Home Screen, allowing me to have one-tap actions and automations at my fingertips.

Now, by default, the order of the shortcuts that appear on your Shortcuts Widget are the same as those in your primary Shortcuts Library within the Shortcuts app. Showing all the Shortcuts that you’ve ever created and which were toggled to “Show in the Widget”.

If you find that you have too many shortcuts in your Home Screen Widget, it can be a bit overwhelming. You may realize you don’t need all those shortcuts to be right there all the time.

This is something that has bugged me for quite a while, and I’m embarrassed to admit that I just discovered the solution to it yesterday.

Fortunately, there is an easy — albeit somewhat hidden (at least, it was hidden to me) — way to edit and organize the shortcuts that are on your Home Screen Widget.

To edit and organize your Shortcuts Widget:

  1. Tap the top-right carrot arrow in the Shortcuts widget to expand it completely.

  2. Then, at the bottom, you’ll see the option to “Customize in Shortcuts”.

Tap the “Customize in Shortcuts” button and you’ll be taken to the Shortcuts app with a special settings window that is specifically for the Shortcuts Widget.

From here you can now rearrange the order of the Shortcuts that are displayed in the Home Screen Widget and you can quickly select the check marks for which Shortcuts you do and do not want to show up in the widget.

How to Edit and Organize the Shortcuts in Your iPad Home Screen Widget

Today: A Nerdy, Live, iPad-Centric Webinar with Yours Truly

Update: Thanks to everyone who joined us live. It was a blast. We had around 400 folks join us live for the call. We went through quite a bit of tips and tricks and also answered a whole bunch of questions around GoodNotes, iOS Shortcuts, productivity workflows, and more.

During the webinar I got this note from Jerry V. who was attending it live:

“I am absolutely blown away by the quality of the information in the Webinar.”

If you weren’t able to join us, or if you are wondering about the replay, it will be added as a new lesson within our GoodNotes course. If you already have access to the course, we’ll be emailing you as soon as the video has been added. If you’d like to get access, you can sign up here.


Original Blog Post Below

Later today my friend and the Executive Editor for The Sweet Setup, Mike Schmitz, and I will be hosting a free, live webinar to share about iPad Productivity, workflows, and how to be gooder at using GoodNotes.

If want to use your iPad more, this is for you. And especially so if you’re a GoodNotes user.

Here are the details

What: A Nerdy, Live, iPad-Centric Webinar

When: Wednesday, November 6 — at 3pm EST / 8pm GMT

Here’s an outline of what we’ll be going through

  • The iPad productivity apps we use (and why).

  • Our iPad productivity workflows, including some examples of Shortcuts and how different apps serve different purposes.

  • Specific workflows for GoodNotes, including how to launch the app directly into a specific journal, how to auto-toggle Dark Mode, document scanning, and more.

  • Live Q&A

We are doing this in response to everyone who has purchased The Sweet Setup’s GoodNotes course and has been asking for additional, specific examples of iPad and GoodNotes workflows.

And so we thought it would be fun to host this webinar free and publicly for everyone on the Sweet Setup community.

If this is a topic that interests you, then I hope to see you on the video call.

Today: A Nerdy, Live, iPad-Centric Webinar with Yours Truly

Breckenridge Whiskey Barrels: Wallpaper Background

Breckenridge, Colorado is one of the best towns in Colorado.

It’s beautiful. It’s full of great things to do. It has a bunch of excellent food and drink spots. And, arguably, it’s home to one of the best bourbon distilleries in America.

I grew up not far from Breckenridge, and used to go up many times during the winters in order to snowboard. Nowadays I usually visit Breck with my family during the summer. And I’ve been hosting a small mastermind retreat there for the past 3 years in a row.

Earlier this summer as some friends and I were touring the Breck Distillery I snapped this photo of some of the stacked, aging barrels. It’s been my iPhone’s Home screen wallpaper for a while, and I wanted to share it for you to use if you’d like.

Download the full version directly here and save it to use as a device wallpaper on your Mac, iPad, or iPhone. Cheers!

Breckenridge Whiskey Barrels: Wallpaper Background

Start Your New Year’s Goals Now

The New Year is both a great and a terrible time to try and start a new habit.

It’s great because there are times and seasons during the year that are more conducive to starting something new. Spring and fall tend to be times when we take on new projects and goals. And, of course, the New Year also has its own momentum for starting fresh that we’ve even built into our culture.

But…

How many New Year’s resolutions have you started that just didn’t stick?

The reason New Year can be a terrible time to start a new habit is because so many of us overcommit.

Why Most New Year’s Resolutions Don’t Last

Many folks’ New Year’s ResolutionS involve too much change all at once.

The problem with too much change too fast is that it’s very difficult to sustain.

When you start on a new habit or routine, it takes a certain amount of activation energy to get going and build momentum. And, the greater the change, the greater the activation energy required to implement that change.

For example: It takes much less energy to go on a 5-minute walk each day at lunchtime than it does to go on a 60-minute run every morning before work.

Keeping things simple was how I was able to recently complete 365 days in a row of perfect activity on my Apple Watch. For the whole year my main focus was to make sure I did a 15-minute workout every day. Just 15 minutes every day. That was it. And everything else pretty much took care of itself.

What Change Do You Want to Make in 2020?

As you consider the New Year, what new routine or lifestyle change do you want to make? Or what routine do you want to build upon?

Start by doing this:

Implement the easiest, and most simple version of that change now.

For example:

  • In 2020 if you want to build a writing habit, then start now by writing for 20 minutes one day a week.

  • If you want to begin exercising, then start now by doing a 30-minute workout once a week.

  • If you want to begin eating healthier, than begin now by making one simple, positive change to your diet.

  • If you want to learn a new skill, then start now by reading one chapter in a book, one day per week.

Consider it a head start on your New Year’s goals.

By startIng small now then it will help you build momentum and confidence heading into the New Year.

And then, as you start the New Year, you won’t be starting your new goals from scratch! You will already have a few months worth of momentum and experience that will give you a huge advantage so you can continue that momentum on into 2020.

Start Your New Year’s Goals Now

One Question for Barrett Brooks: How Can I Be More Creative?

Barrett Brooks is the COO of ConvertKit. He writes fantastic articles about leadership on his website, and he’s on the Twitter.

I was in Portland having breakfast with Barrett, and I asked his advice to someone who is interested in improving their creative routine in life. Below is his answer (that yes, totally recorded and transcribed).

Barrett’s Advice to Improve Your Creative Routine

Exercise every day.

I’ve been tracking with a lot of folks who are creative people and they’re in the technology space, or in startups, and I hear so much about how anxious they are or that they’re feeling depression. Just mental health challenges.

And I can’t help but wonder how many of these people are exercising every day? How many are moving their body every day?

So I think about removing the things that are making daily withdraws from our creative energy, and doing things to replenish that creative energy instead.

That’s why I encourage people to get into an exercise routine. It doesn’t mean You have to go to the gym and hiring a trainer. It can be as simple as just going to play outside for an hour. But it’s important to do those things that will give space to think and replenish your creative energy.

Because it can be so easy to get into a pattern of check Twitter, do some work, talk on Slack, do this, do that, do that… And there is so much stuff going on that there is no space to be crative.

For example. The other night I was thinking about an article I just published: “Am I enough?

I knew the title of the article. But I was agitated. Because, though I somewhat knew the direction I wanted to write, I just needed enough space to think about what was it that I want to say in this article and how do I want to say it?

And I think in the end, I really did capture it. But to get over my mental hurdle I had to just stop for a minute. I had to step away from it in order to get the space I needed to think clearly about what it was I wanted to say.


Barrett’s advice reminds me of something I once heard that we often over-emphasize the importance of exercise for our physical health, and under-emphasize the importance of exercise for our mental health.

One Question for Barrett Brooks: How Can I Be More Creative?

Photos and Takeaways From Atlanta’s Focus Course LIVE

A couple weeks ago I was in Atlanta for one of our live, public training workshops for The Focus Course.

Here are a couple of photos I snapped during the week.

The name badges, set out ahead of time.

Artsy photo of the venue, taken from outside the front door.

What it looked like for me to be reviewing my notes in my hotel room the evening beforehand.

My view from the front of the room.


One of the big, overarching pillars of the Focus Course LIVE is this:

To help folks (1) get clear on the vision they have for their work and life, and then (2) create the space they need in order to walk that out every day in the small things.

In short, the aim is to begin building habits that manifest the vision and values of your life.

Like this:

What is an important value in your life?

What would it look like for you to build it into your every-day life?

Here are some examples of aligning values with regular actions in your time and energy:

Generosity: Incorporate charitable giving as part of your monthly budget.

Creativity: set aside time each day to write / take photos / draw / etc.

Health: Adjust your diet; have an evening shutdown routine for better sleep.

Relationships: Schedule and protect intentional time with the most important people in your life.

Building habits around your values is a profound way to radically change your life.

It will help you to constantly focus on doing the actions that matter and that will lead you to the outcomes you want.

. . . .

All that said, our Atlanta workshop was so much fun!

It is such a joy and honor for me to walk people through this process. I absolutely love it!

And my team did great! Isaac and Joanna handled all the event details and logistics and have helped develop an event brand that is classy, warm, and full of the little details. Plus, our senior editor, Jeff Abbott, was able to come join us as well!

Isaac, Joanna, myself, and Jeff.


Our next Focus Course LIVE workshop will be in the Spring of 2020 here in Kansas City. I’ll share more once the dates are landed.

Photos and Takeaways From Atlanta’s Focus Course LIVE

I’m Blogging Daily During November

Here in the United States, November is known for three things:

  1. Thanksgiving
  2. Not shaving
  3. Writing a novel

Starting today — Friday, November 1 — I’ll be writing and publishing something every day for the whole month of November.

Though, instead of writing a novel in a month, I will be simply be focused on publishing something — anything — every single day. From photos, links to interesting things, articles, reviews, etc.

And apparently this is a thing.

I’ve already heard from several other readers who will be writing and creating daily this month as well. Which is awesome! And my friends CJ and Om are also both doing the same thing.

I’m Blogging Daily During November

I can’t remember the last time I used my iMac to edit a photo. All my photo editing happens on the iPad Pro.

The iPad is an ideal tool for perusing and editingyour photos. So, in a sense, picking the best photo editing app for the iPad is actually picking the best photo editing app, period.

Two other personal side-notes about Lightroom:

  • If you are using Lightroom, you should check out the presets that Rebecca Lily has to offer — they are fantastic. I have sets IV, V, and VI. As a long-time VSCO user, there are several bold and moody presets in Rebecca’s Pro Sets V and VI that I think are great.

  • Paying a few bucks a month for Lightroom cloud storage syncing and backup is worth the price alone to have a second layer of cloud backup for my entire Lightroom catalog.

The Best Photo-Editing App for iPad

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