Noisy Deadlines


This is a note to self about planning my day:

  • Lunch & Shutdown: Schedule the Lunch break and the Shutdown blocks.
  • Email time: Add blocks to handle emails.
  • Meeting Buffers: Insert buffer times before and after meetings for preparation and follow-up.
  • Breaks: Add breaks/snack time.
  • Check-ins: Rearrange my “Organizing” and “Check-in” blocks.
  • Work Focus Blocks: Add work blocks by context or projects
  • While I'm working on focused blocks, don't look at emails!
  • Revise plan as needed.
  • 🍵Take it slow, no need to rush!

Post 04/100 of 100DaysToOffload challenge (Round 2)!

#100DaysToOffload #100Days #Productivity #notes

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By Noisy Deadlines Minimalist in progress, nerdy, introvert, skeptic. I don't leave without my e-reader.

I have a system I've been using since 2019 for taking notes at work.

I use an Arc notebook that I got from Staples that has refillable pages. It's a customizable system, so I can remove pages and insert them elsewhere in the book by simply pulling out the sheet. It’s really nice! I’ve had the same notebook for 5 years now.

I mainly use my notebook for meeting notes, notes from calls and notes about projects I'm working on. I also like to use a Pentel Energel 0.5mm in blue as my default pen.

Everyday I open up my 8-½” x 5-½” arc notebook and insert the day:

And then for every project or meeting that I'm currently working on I add a sequence number and a title/subject and start writing. If I change focus and start working on another subject/project/meeting, I will add a sequence number with the title and continue from there.

Some of those notes will generate new next actions, which I add an asterix or arrow so that I remember to capture those into my Nirvana inbox during my shutdown routine at the end of the day.

The notebook will hold 50 pages at a time, and when they are all filled up, I pull them out, and refill the notebook with new pages that I get from Staples.

I then scan all the written pages into a PDF and save the file. At the end of the year I will have around 350-400 pages scanned. Then I recycle the paper copies.

These are all the notes from 2023:

Thinking about Reusable Notebooks

After 5+ years of doing this, I can see the amount of paper I generate! I feel bad about using that much paper, honestly. That’s not even considering the paper I use for time blocking every day, and personal notes.

I'm curious to try out a reusable notebook, so I ordered a Rocketbook!  I will try the 6” x 8.8” Fusion (Executive size, like my current notebook) because I'm super curious to see how it works! And to know if I will enjoy writing on it.

It should be delivered later today, so I will write a post about my first impressions once I’ve used it for a while.

P.S.: Wow! This is the 100th post since I started the #100DaysToOffload challenge!! 🥳

Post 100/100 of 100DaysToOffload challenge!

#100DaysToOffload #100Days #notes #GTD #Productivity

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By Noisy Deadlines Minimalist in progress, nerdy, introvert, skeptic. I don't leave without my e-reader.

In Gloria Mark’s book “Attention Span” she delves into the fascinating world of attention management.  We usually fall along a continuum for how we like to work:

  • Monochronic: we prefer to finish one task to completion before beginning another task. We thrive on focused, sequential work.
  • Polychronic: we prefer to juggle multiple tasks at once. We are comfortable with interruptions and context-switching.

Interestingly, Mark identifies a rare breed: the “supertaskers”. These exceptional individuals can seamlessly shift between tasks without sacrificing focus. However, most of us fall somewhere in the middle, balancing monochronic and polychronic tendencies.

While I was reading this, I felt represented in the more monochronic preference scale. And that explained a lot about the feelings of overwhelm I experience so often in my work life:

“As you might imagine, monochronic types are the ones who tend to experience role overload, and yet they are stuck switching among multiple tasks, trying to keep up. This is consistent with the many people in our studies who report feeling overwhelmed in their work.” — Gloria Mark, “Attention Span”, Chapter 4

I’m not a supertasker, but it seems there is this expectation from companies (and managers) that all office workers are natural multitaskers. The demands of our modern workplace are mixed with continuous real-time electronic communication, and that is exhausting!

The author points out that switching attention away from a challenging task can be beneficial at times. Moving to a new activity can refresh our cognitive resources. Incubating a hard problem can help us figure out a solution later.

“On the other hand, too much task-switching at a fast rate, where you are continually forcing yourself to refocus your attention, is often detrimental because of time and performance decrements, and it leads to stress.” — Gloria Mark, “Attention Span”, Chapter 4

Sometimes I feel bad because I can’t get to focus on something important and I wonder what’s wrong with my brain. But I’ve been learning that the problem isn’t my brain per se. The environment I work in does not foster focus. And then I might feel stressed and overwhelmed at the end of day. It’s fascinating how our personal preferences impact our work experience and vice-versa.

Anyway, this book is an interesting read and I hope the author will explore strategies to navigate this delicate balance between attention and productivity.

Post 87/100 of 100DaysToOffload challenge!

#100DaysToOffload #100Days #Books #notes #work #Productivity

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By Noisy Deadlines Minimalist in progress, nerdy, introvert, skeptic. I don't leave without my e-reader.

I read this blog post by Sylvia this morning and I really liked the idea of having a list of things to remember every day.

I went back to a document I have called “Purpose and Principles” that I wrote as part of my GTD system. In this document, I have a list of my Core Values and a mission statement. Inspired by the blog post above, I updated my list with my:

♥ Things to Remember Every Day

  1. Stay calm and remember to breath.

  2. Wake up with mindfulness (yoga and meditation).

  3. Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants. (— by Michael Pollan)

  4. If overwhelmed, take 3 deep breaths and do a mind sweep!

  5. I won't judge anyone (including me!)

  6. Be curious about the world. Read books.

  7. Sleep is essential.

  8. Move your body a little bit every day.

  9. Say NO! Avoid over commitment.

  10. Celebrate progress 🙌.

I copied this list to the start of my daily physical notebook and I will also put a copy of the list on my whiteboard at home.

Post 35/100 of 100DaysToOffload challenge! #100DaysToOffload #100Days

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By Noisy Deadlines Minimalist in progress, nerdy, introvert, skeptic. I don't leave without my e-reader.

I started using Standard Notes by the end of 2020. I loved the simplicity, the privacy focus, and the syncing between devices. I subscribed to the 5-year extended plan at a discounted price then.

I had thousands of notes in Evernote that were accumulated during 7+ years of use. When I realized that all that information was trapped in one proprietary application, I asked myself: “What if I wanted to move these notes around?”. Also, Evernote got increasingly slower and bulkier. After learning about Markdown and Standard Notes, I exported all my notes from Evernote to the markdown format.

Starting over (almost) from scratch

So I had all my notes backed up in markdown, now what?

I didn’t actually re-imported all of them to Standard Notes. I archived my old notes because I noticed that most of those notes were assorted clippings from the internet. I realized I was a hoarder of information created by other people.

So I started over, copying only a dozen notes that had information I wanted to continue having access to.

As of today, this is how I’m organizing my notes:

(Note: I use nested tags, a feature only available on paid plans in Standard Notes)


I'm moving all my notes out of Evernote. And I have a notebook there with all my e-books notes and highlights for the past 7+ years. A total of 276 notes. One note per book.

I've always used this free service to export my Kindle highlights to Evernote. It also exports to .txt, .pdf and .doc. But, the only way to have separate files (one note per book) is when I use the Evernote option.

My issue here is: how can I convert all these Evernote notes to markdown??😕


I have never asked that question before. But suddenly I felt like I was overwhelmed and that I was spending too much time and energy to manage my lists. So this year I decided to sit down and write a description of my GTD system to understand what was going on.

The inspiration came from a post from Cal Newport in which he describes his Rooted Productivity document. For him, it's a one page document that he keeps in a plastic sleeve on his desk. The idea is to have a “root commitment” that includes all your productivity habits.

GTD is based on 5 steps, which are:

  1. CAPTURE: Collect (Inbox)

  2. CLARIFY: What is it?

  3. ORGANIZE: Put it where it belongs

  4. REFLECT: Review and Update

  5. ENGAGE: What is the next action? Do it!

Based on Cal Newport's idea, I came up with a description of my system based on the following questions:

  • Which tools do I use for each of the 5 GTD Phases?
    • What are my Inboxes? Where are they?
    • What are my list managers? (including tasks and project lists)
    • How do I organize the stuff that comes into my inbox?
    • What is on my Calendar?
    • What is my reference system? How do I file non-actionable things?
  • Core habits and routines: what are the habits that are important to me?
  • Periodic Reviews: what are the reviews I have scheduled to keep the system up-to-date?

💾For a complete summary list of my blog posts grouped by year, click here.

🎈 Things I write about :


🎨 #NoisyMusings: a little bit of everything 📂 #Productivity: organization, methods, apps, GTD 📚 #Books: everything book related

Some Topics:

#apps | #Nirvana (the app, not the band) | #Todoist | #GTD | #MSTodo | #notes | #journal | #journaling #BookReview | #ReadingList | #Reading | #ReaderGoals | #BookWyrm | #TheStorygraph | #weeknotes | #podcast | #GTDnotes | #100DaysToOffload #projects

#internet | #socialmedia | #attentionresistance #minimalism | #digitalminimalism #outdoors | #Hiking | #winter | #iceskating | #music | #heavymetal | #puzzle | #health

I've bee using Evernote for almost 10 years now! And because of a job change I was unable to use the desktop version on my computer so I started looking for alternatives. I tried Evernote Web at the time (this was last year) but the web version was full of bugs and many Evernote's functionalities weren't available yet. It was frustrating to try to use the web version.

So I started using Microsoft's Onenote and I kinda liked it at the beginning. I enjoyed the notebooks structure without tags. And that actually made me realize that my Evernote tagging/notebook system was over complicated!

Recently, with the new web version and the ability that I have now to use the Evernote desktop version on my work computer, I decided to get back to the green elephant.

So a great decluttering began and it's still ongoing...

My idea is to have a few generic tags and use notebooks for the major structure (just like Onenote). I think it's easier to just file a note in a dedicated notebook than processing it and choosing tags. Tags can become very messy and out of control! And that's exactly how my system is now! Totally out of control. So many random tags!

I'll not use so many tags for references anymore. The search function on Evernote is so good that I don't need perfectly organized tags.

I have notes that were automatically generated (using IFTTT) of every post I published on Instagram. I've deleted my Instagram a while ago already (and I have a backup of the pictures I posted). So I'll delete a notebook called “Timeline” with 292 notes generated from Instagram in it.

This cleaning process will take a while. I'l handle the big ticket items first (like the Timeline notebook).

Deep inside I think I want a brand new Evernote account. Clean slate. Start again. So, that's it! Purging mode on! I'll make Evernote as clean as I can.

I also have some old notes from the time I used Evernote as my GTD system (including To-do lists), and I have notes for each action I had to do and now it's completely useless. I'll delete them all.

#evernote #notes #productivity

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By Noisy Deadlines Minimalist in progress, nerdy, introvert, skeptic. I don't leave without my e-reader.