Focus on your system newsletter- Issue 07 - 17-Jun-2024
5 min read

Focus on your system newsletter- Issue 07 - 17-Jun-2024

Hello everyone,

Here's my latest newsletter to help with your systems.

App I am using:

I highly value the use of mind maps to structure ideas, address queries, and map out my thoughts. MindNode has become my tool of choice due to its simplicity and effectiveness. The clean interface of this app allows me to swiftly capture and organise complex ideas without distraction.

Among the features I frequently utilise are:

  1. Quick entry, which enables rapid text addition to the mind map.
  2. Multiple themes, allowing for a customisable look and feel.
  3. The ability to add images, enhancing visual appeal and information retention.
  4. An export function to Markdown, facilitating content sharing and documentation.

I discovered MindNode through SetApp which gives me access to a large number of useful apps for a fixed monthly fee.

Its minimalist design ensures that I can focus solely on my thoughts.

During a YouTube brainstorming session, MindNode enabled me to visually map out the videos effectively. This visual representation helped clarify content and expectations, significantly streamlining my video delivery.

Regular use of MindNode has improved my organisational skills and creativity. The ability to visually break down complex ideas into manageable parts has enhanced my problem-solving capabilities and productivity.

Looking ahead, I would like to see more advanced collaborative tools and perhaps deeper integrations with other productivity apps. These enhancements would make MindNode even more versatile and powerful.

Book I am reading:

One of the things I hated about working was asking for a pay rise. I was always nervous and felt awkward, asking for the salary I deserve.

Asking for a pay rise or agreeing on a salary of a new job is the most crucial negotiation a person has to do because they will have to live with the results

The best way I have developed this is by reading Never Split The Difference by Chris Vos and applying its principles.

I have applied the following principles when negotiating a salary:

  1. Know your value. Research to find out what your market rate is.  If you can find a job out there that pays more ask for for more.
  2. Ask for more than you want. By setting a higher salary, you help pull up the scale the other person is prepared to offer.
  3. List out the reasons for getting more. Sometimes the people you are negotiating with might not know the value that you add or could add to a company. By understanding why you are valuable, you will get more.

Being able to negotiate is very important to build relationships and ensure you get the best value for a deal.  Just like the other skills, I suggest the earlier you practice, the better you get.

Tech that I am looking at:

I have an Amazon Smart Plug installed at my home, a seemingly simple device that has revolutionised how I manage household electronics.

What initially caught my attention was the Smart Plug’s ability to seamlessly integrate with Alexa for voice-controlled operation. The concept of turning devices on and off with a simple voice command was both appealing and futuristic.

This technology has greatly simplified my daily routines. For example, I can activate my air purifier or schedule cameras to monitor the house when I’m away, all through automated settings or voice commands, which enhances my home’s convenience and security.

The Amazon Smart Plug integrates with other smart home devices and systems via Alexa.

The learning curve was minimal. Setup was straightforward, involving plugging in the device and connecting it to the Alexa app.

A notable scenario where the Smart Plug became useful was during a vacation. The ability to schedule devices like cameras to turn on automatically provided a level of home security that manual timers or traditional plugs couldn’t match.

One limitation is the Smart Plug’s dependence on Wi-Fi. In instances of internet downtime, controlling the plug remotely becomes impossible, which can be inconvenient. I’ve managed this by ensuring my router has a backup power supply to maintain internet connectivity during power outages.

I would definitely recommend the Amazon Smart Plug to anyone looking to make their home smarter. It’s particularly useful for those new to smart home technology due to its simplicity and for those who value the convenience of voice and remote control.

EDC that I own:

One essential carry item I’ve added to my summer essentials is the Matador Pocket Blanket. This compact, portable blanket has become indispensable for outdoor seating, whether I’m at a park or settling on a less-than-clean surface.

The Matador Pocket Blanket stood out primarily because of its innovative design. It features integrated pegs that secure it firmly to the ground, an advantage for windy days or uneven terrain. Additionally, its compact folding pattern allows it to pack down into a remarkably small pouch, making it highly portable and convenient.

During a recent park visit the integrated pegs kept it in place despite the breezy conditions, providing a stable and clean surface for enjoying the seaside without the hassle of chasing a runaway blanket.

There’s a slight learning curve with folding the blanket back into its pouch following the specific pattern, but it becomes intuitive after a few uses. This feature ensures the blanket remains compact.

One limitation is the size; while it’s perfect for individual or dual use, it’s not suitable for larger groups. For bigger gatherings, additional blankets would be necessary.

I would highly recommend the Matador Pocket Blanket for anyone who enjoys spending time outdoors. It’s particularly suited for hikers, picnickers, or concert-goers who value convenience, comfort, and durability in their gear.

Methods I have tried to implement:

The Eisenhower Matrix, a time management tool I’ve incorporated into my routine, categories tasks into four distinct quadrants to help prioritise and manage them effectively:

  1. First Quadrant: Urgent and Important - These are tasks that require immediate attention. For instance, paying a tax bill promptly to avoid penalties exemplifies a Quadrant One activity.
  2. Second Quadrant: Important but Not Urgent - This quadrant helps prioritise tasks that contribute to long-term goals but aren’t time-sensitive, such as planning for future objectives.
  3. Third Quadrant: Urgent but Not Important - These tasks demand immediate attention but have minimal long-term impact, like helping someone with a chore.
  4. Fourth Quadrant: Neither Urgent nor Important - These tasks are the least priority, often comprising leisure activities such as watching Netflix or playing video games.

What initially led me to adopt the Eisenhower Matrix was the constant feeling of being busy yet unproductive. I needed a method to sort out tasks by their actual significance and urgency.

I integrate the matrix into my day by starting each morning reviewing my tasks, categorising them into the four quadrants, and then scheduling my day around tackling these tasks in order of priority.

Initially, distinguishing between urgency and importance was challenging. I refined my judgment over time by regularly reflecting on the outcomes of completed tasks.

The method is highly adaptable. When unexpected tasks arise, I assess their quadrant placement quickly and adjust my priorities without disrupting planned work.

Start by categorising only a few tasks per day to get used to the process. Gradually, as you understand the matrix better, expand its use to include more complex tasks.

While I highly recommend the Eisenhower Matrix, it is particularly beneficial for individuals who handle a variety of tasks and need to focus on impactful activities. It may be less useful for those in highly unpredictable environments where task priority shifts frequently.

By classifying tasks within these quadrants, I manage my workload more efficiently, preventing the common pitfalls of task overload and multitasking.

How about you? Have you discovered any tools, books, or methods recently that have transformed your approach to work or life? I’d love to hear about it drop a message to me on X.

Until next time, keep optimising and stay practical!

Thanks for reading,



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