My 2023 Daily Morning Personal Devotion Plan

Thought-catalog-505eectW54k-unsplashPhoto by Thought Catalog on Unsplash

Back in 2019, I embarked on a daily morning personal devotion and growth plan by reading these two books on my Kindle Paperwhite (no ads):

Since then, I've rotated the faith devotional book yearly, but I have kept re-reading the The Daily Stoic (it is really that good).  The previous faith devotionals were:

In addition to reading these, I have been practicing journaling whatever comes to mind before my readings. Looking back over my journaling, I see some themes: what happened the day before, or what is going to happen soon; prayers; concerns/worries; and insight into how I am feeling or how I am doing professionally and personally.  I also capture some thoughts or ideas that stand out from my readings. I have tried to journal both on paper and digitally. I have currently settled on paper.  I am currently using a Moleskin that was given to me by Manager-Tools.com.

Another practice I have been doing is high-lighting those verses mentioned in the faith devotionals in my Bible (NIV Faithlife Study Bible: Intriguing Insights To Inform Your Faith).  It is becoming very interesting to see what verses get used across different authors, and those that only get one or two mentions.  An additional insight is how much of the Bible hasn't been referenced. It is also especially interesting to me when my "Faith Daily Devotional" is very aligned with the "Stoic Daily Read."

This year I am going to read in the morning:

I am looking forward to Rolf's book as I've been listening to his podcast for years, and he inspired me to take this Europe Trip in 2019.

NOTE: Links to things you can buy go to Amazon Prime.

#human_generated_content


Recommended: Adam Smith Podcasts From Freakonomics.com

Kirkcaldy_High_Street_Adam_Smith_Plaque

I learned a lot about Adam Smith that I didn't know about in this three part podcast from Freakonomics.com: Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.

Here are a few examples:


Two Weeks Into Moving To Obsidian As My GTD System

Obsidian-basic-backgroundIntroduction

About two weeks ago I decided to move my personal David Allen's Getting Things Done (GTD) system (aka "External Brain/Trusted System") to Obsidian.md (a "free" personal knowledge management application -- note I previously thought that Obsidian was open-source but it is not).

I don't have a huge set of reasons for the switch, it just seemed like something I was very interested in doing after testing Obsidian over the last 6 months for writing, note-taking, organizing, etc.

My previous personal system was Nirvana (for everything GTD-related, but Reference), and Google Keep (for Reference). This system was up and running from January 2019 until now.  Before that, I had a customized GTD-system in Google Keep. The full Google Keep system was ~5 years old.  Before that, it was all Microsoft Outlook-based

My work GTD system is Microsoft Outlook based with all my References in Microsoft OneNote or in the Windows filesystem.

Setting Things Up

My first step was to relieve my concern about being able to work across all devices.  So, my first three next-actions were:

  1. Get Obsidian working in Linux on my Chromebook.
  2. Get Obsidian working on my Windows 11 Desktop.
  3. Sync those two systems using Google Drive.

This was pretty straightforward and was probably working seamlessly in less than 10 minutes.

Then I had to figure out how to get things to work on my Android Phone and Apple iPad:

  1. First I tried an Android sync tool called Folder Sync, but the changes were not very dynamic.  I had to force a sync from the application before I'd see any updates in Obsidian.
  2. Then I realized for the Apple iPad, the options for syncing seemed to be limited to two: Apple iCloud or Obsidian Sync (paid service).  With my primary data files on Google Drive, it seemed like Obsidian Sync was the better option.
  3. So I paid for Obsidian Sync (to get both Android & iPad sync going).  I can report that this has worked very well, I've had no issues, and it is very responsive on both my Android phone and my Apple iPad.  Definitely worth the money.

Learning

Now that I could trust that data would be synchronized, and available no matter which device I was using, I just started learning more about what other people have done:

The current setup is pretty minimal after migrating my current Tasks and Projects from Nirvana, and my current active Notes (Project Support, References) in Google Keep.

My-obsidian-structure

Future Projects To Work On

I have used this tool -- keep-it-markdown 0.4.3 -- to migrate all my notes out of Google Keep into .md files to Google Drive. However, I still need to import those into Obsidian.

I also need to migrate a couple of lists in Nirvana -- Later & Someday/Maybe -- to Obsidian.

There is also an effort to figure out if there are other Obsidian plugins, themes, or templates I should be using.

Questions, comments, suggestions, etc. welcome!


What Factors Impact Overall Happiness In The Workplace

Current work scheduleA month or so ago my son Conrad who is attending SDSU asked me to post a link to a survey that his marketing research class needed inputs on.

You can find the original post on Linked In.

The team created a PDF of the results that I'd like to share via this link (pdf download).

Here is their Executive Summary:

In this report, we sought to understand what type of working environment would lead to greater overall happiness in individuals. In order to dive deeper into this topic, we did extensive research on different working styles within the US as well as other countries. We also researched how COVID-19 may have affected the way individuals view working and how working from home may affect the way individuals choose to work going forward.

After gathering our research, we constructed a 16-question survey to better understand individuals' demographics, attitudes towards working, and their current levels of satisfaction and happiness at their current jobs. Our research questions targeted asking about different work style preferences such as working completely in person, working completely online, or having a hybrid work style. We also asked individuals about their current work type status such as part-time, full time or unemployed, as well as their education level. We also incorporated questions asking about individuals' current levels of happiness and whether or not they are satisfied working at their current job or satisfied with the current amount of money they make.

We ran multiple extensive SPSS analysis to include: descriptive (for the mean, standard deviation, and frequency), associative (bivariate correlation), differences (one-way anova), and predictive (simple regression).

From the data results, we conclude that there is a weak positive correlation between age and happiness. The older a person is, the somewhat happier they are likely to be at their job. We also found a weak positive relationship between the older you are and the less likely you are to leave your current job. The rest of our research questions involving: pay in monetary form, education level, and work schedule, all have inconclusive effects on happiness. This means there is no clear pay level, level of education, or work schedule that has a greater effect on one's happiness.


Thoughts & Tips for June & July 2021

Blurry-2-photo

This photo is part of my Blurry collection.

CURRENT HAPPENINGS

The last two months have been going well.  Mother's Day in May was great, and so was Father's Day in June.

We have been slowly getting back out to our favorite places to eat, visiting breweries, attending church in person without masks, seeing friends, and having more group events at our house.

Getting vaccinated has a ton of benefits!

Biggest news is that Carson graduated from High School:

Carson-graduation

Another nice piece of new news is that my niece Hayley and her husband Alex are having a baby girl in December:

Screenshot 2021-07-02 15.10.08

I have also been able to teach two Getting Things Done (GTD) classes in-person at work which has been very enjoyable.  One class was in May and the other in late June.

LOOKING FORWARD TO

The epic D&D battle I have been DMing for several months has finally ended, and we are on to a new "underwater" related adventure created by our other DM Darren.

We have several mini-vacations coming up across July & August: one week in Mission Beach at a condo rental; a weekend retreat at The Oaks; a couple of days in Las Vegas for Def Con; and then beach camping at San Elijo. It will be nice to get out and about, but also not have to travel too far from home.

TECHNOLOGY, TIPS, & SUGGESTIONS

If I had to pick a single glass style to drink craft beer out of I think it would be this one (Amazon link):

Teku-glass-for-tpcSince May 20th I have been charging all my mobile electronics off-grid using this setup from Jackery (originally purchased just for camping):

Jackery-solar-systemThis includes: cell phone; iPad (didn't realize what a power hog this was); Garmin watch; bike lights; Go Pro & other camera batteries; all the new Rode podcast/audio recording gear; and a variety of  smaller battery packs.  Hard to say the total impact to our home electrical bill, but kind of a fun experiment.  It will be interesting to see how long I can do it.  My cell phone does get charged when it is in the car, so that makes things a little easier. I am not charging my main personal Chromebook computer this way until we go camping this summer.

The solar unit is the SolorSaga 100W (Amazon Link), and the portable battery unit is the Portable Power Station Explorer 240 (Amazon Link). 

QUOTE I'M THINKING ABOUT

"Saying no saves you time in the future. Saying yes costs you time in the future. No is like a time credit. You can spend that block of time in the future. Yes is like a time debt. You have to repay that commitment at some point. No is a decision. Yes is a responsibility." - James Clear


Near Real-Time Tracking

You can find out what I'm up to in near real-time via: Twitter (@sholden) Instagram (@sholden), or Facebook (sholden). I also recommend checking out my AztecMedia.net produced sites: Chvrches Fan Podcast (@chvrchespodcast), ThePodCraft Beer Show (@thepodcraft, @techguysteve, Untapped, @techguysteven); Tech News Radio (@technewsradio), Air Gapped Networks (@airgapnet), Jersey Boys Podcast, and Veteran Stories. [Updated: May 9, 2021]


Thoughts & Tips for May 2021

Circle-blur-1This photo is part of my Blurry collection.

CURRENT HAPPENINGS

All but one of us is vaccinated. Guess which one? Ha Ha! #stay_home_if_sick, #wash_your_hands, #social_distance, #wear_a_mask

Theoaks2Christy and I had a great 2nd retreat to The Oaks to celebrate our 27th Wedding Anniversary.  It was super reflective and restful.  Here are some photos!

I recently did a Getting Things Done (GTD) related presentation to Manager-Tools' M Conference attendees alumni group.  Here is more information about the presentation with an offer to present to other groups or organizations that are interested in productivity.

Scavenger-huntMy work did a virtual Spring Break scavenger hunt (above are some of the photos).  It was super fun and collaborative with friends & family helping out. It was also nice to get out-and-about little bit more. I highly recommend doing something like this if you have the opportunity.

LOOKING FORWARD TO

Carson-lb-state-Carson is going to be graduating high-school soon, and has decided to go to Long Beach State to study nursing.  We are very proud and excited for her upcoming college season.

Summer vacation plans seem to be coming together: Mission Beach beach house rental, back to The Oaks, Def Con (Las Vegas), and camping at San Elijo State Beach.

I am hoping that my friend's D&D session (mentioned in previous posts) will get us through this epic battle I have been DMing for months, and on to a new "underwater" related adventure created by our other DM Darren.

TECHNOLOGY, TIPS, & SUGGESTIONS

Here are some greate Windows 10 tips from ZDNET. The one about the new Clipboard History is especially useful as I have had to use a 3rd party tool to do this in the past.  To open Clipboard History, press Windows key + V. Neat!

Wireless-podcast-gear

I have been experimenting with these Rode Wireless Go Compact Microphone Transmitter & Receiver Systems for The PodCraft Beer Show.  So far they are working well, and they definitely decrease the amount of gear I need to drag to each recording.  I think they are also making the conversational style of the podcast easier to record, and edit on the back end.  I'll probably do a future full review, so standby for more information.

Engadget's article on "Google makes it easy to jump back to the search box by pressing '/' -- The new shortcut makes it easier to refine your search results." should enable you to quickly expand searches to include addition terms.

I knew how to schedule the release of emails, but this article from Wired describes how to do this on Apple iOS devices and on Google Android devices for text messages.  Super handy to know.

QUOTE I'M THINKING ABOUT

“There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all.” - Peter Drucker


Thoughts & Tips for March & April 2021

Blur2This photo is part of my Blurry collection.

CURRENT HAPPENINGS

All is good health-wise and no major COVID-19 impacts.  We are looking forward to vaccines. #stay_home_if_sick, #wash_your_hands, #social_distance, #wear_a_mask

Some how I didn't get around to a February post.  Things have been pretty focused at home (taxes, CISSP Continuing Education (CE) credits, ThePodCraft, etc), and work (new role) which is probably why it never got to the top of the priority list.

LOOK FORWARD TO

Our visit to the The Oaks (our photos from our 1st trip) to celebrate our 27th Wedding Anniversary is coming up soon.  And I am going to be taking some annual leave from work the first full week of April just after Easter.

I continue to be Dungeon Mastering (DMing) for my Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) group.  We have been slogging through the "epic" battle over 5 or 6 sessions (3-4 hours of real-time) to play 5+ minutes in game time (each turn has been 6 seconds long). I think the "snatch-&-grab" adventure I was planning is going to be something to do later, as our other DM is ready with his next adventure.

TECHNOLOGY, TIPS, & SUGGESTIONS

Wired recently published some great Gmail tips that are worth reviewing if you are a Google Gmail user.

I learned a few things about how to better use Virtual Desktops on Chrome OS in this article.  I am currently using four: Main, GTD, Social, & Media.

I am not much of a wine drinker but I thought this graphic I found on Reddit to be helpful enough that I saved it into my REFERENCE library in Google Keep:

Wine

I believe I have a pretty good online password strategy.   Here are some times related to cracking common password patterns.  This is why your passwords need more complexity as of 2021.  The bad news is that every year going forward the time to crack passwords is going to get less as processors/memory/storage/cache/technologies/approaches/etc. get better:

Password Crack Times By Complexity

I have been using LastPass for several years (paying customer), and I still find it to meet my needs: works across many devices, Family Plan, easy to have different passwords per site, and complex generated passwords can be customized.

QUOTE I'M THINKING ABOUT

“If you don’t like something change it; if you can’t change it, change the way you think about it. - Mary Engelbreit


Thoughts & Tips For February 2021

Red-blurThis photo is part of my Blurry collection.

CURRENT HAPPENINGS

January seemed to be on cruise-control here at our home.  All is good health-wise and no major COVID-19 impacts.  One super great blessing is that Christy's school where she teaches has been able to hold classes since September with no major issues.

Suite-dude

The attack on the Capital was horrific. It is shocking to me that so many in the Senate and the House are so supportive of the Cult of Trump. I'm not confident much will change with the impending Impeachment #2.

The kids are back in school, and we are back to juggling spaces, times for video calls, etc.  But we are getting pretty good at that!

LOOK FORWARD TO

Conrad is turning twenty-two this month and seems to be enjoying SDSU. He and a friend did a fun video recently called "The Shed" (YouTube)!

It looks like Christy and I are going to be headed back to The Oaks (our photos from our 1st trip) in April which should be a great retreat as we celebrate our 27th Wedding Anniversary.

I am going to be Dungeon Mastering (DMing) for my Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) group two little side adventures over the next month or so. One is an "epic" battle and another is going to be a "snatch-&-grab."

TECHNOLOGY, TIPS, & SUGGESTIONS

Here is a great visualization of the Pomodoro Technique for breaking up focused work into time slices that I've found to be pretty effective especially when working a big project:

The_pomodoro-technique

I also ran across this graphic on tips for camera settings that I've saved off in Google Keep for easy access:

Photo-Cheat-Sheet

This article -- "Comic-Con 2019: Former CIA agents explain 6 ways to conduct and evade surveillance" -- has some technology tips worth reading from a perspective of how to be more private and secure with your phones and devices.

QUOTE I'M THINKING ABOUT

“If you don’t like something change it; if you can’t change it, change the way you think about it. - Mary Engelbreit