Recently, in workflow optimisation
Four months into a medical thing, the summary of which is “the human body can be spontaneous and inconvenient”. Still got a way to go yet, and much of my time and energy is spent doing some sort of pain management. It is exhausting. I have reduced endurance, increased malaise, and just about everything is a chore as I retrain myself back into having focus and being functional, and I’m hanging out to get back to some of the fitnessy stuff I used to do.
So, how can I make other parts of my life suck less?
I run a bunch of websites from various projects I have accumulated over the years.
I have plans for the ones which were on WordPress to be migrated somewhere. I’ve got nothing against WordPress. It’s a great CMS that’s highly extensible, but for most of my clients I feel there are better options for what they want to do that they can self-manage. For my own projects, I’m trying to reduce the amount of time I spend on administrative tasks, and WordPress management is something I simply don’t want to do anymore. I’m leaning towards Ghost or some other headless CMS. It’s been a while since I reviewed this and I need to address it before the renewal date of my VPS.
This website and my podcast websites for STEAM Powered and The Rejection Economy used to be on Gatsby. But as I’ve been doing other development with NextJS and rather like it, a while ago Michele Ong was moved to that combination as a trial. This was nice. So last weekend STEAM Powered was migrated, and this weekend The Rejection Economy joined the fold. Both podcast websites now share the same code structure and an almost identical theme for consistency and ease of maintenance.
The podcast content is also managed using Sanity.io as a headless CMS with an API that I intend to leverage so that I can automate website updates when I release new episodes. More about this on Ask Me About My Podcast when I get around to implementing it.
After the success of the migrations to NextJS, there is a strong possibility that those WordPress sites will also be moved to NextJS with markdown for the content. Given they’re being managed for posterity and will no longer be updated, I’m looking for something as low effort and maintenance as possible.
I used to host my podcast email accounts on Gmail with custom domains. For Reasons(TM), I’ve now shifted to other mail providers. When I was using Gmail, I also used Streak as my CRM for managing my guest communication workflows. Streak is great and does exactly what I need it to, and helps me keep on top of my various lines of communication, but doesn’t seem to have a non-Gmail dependent version. So I needed a replacement.
A few platforms offer companion CRM services, but I’d rather have something that isn’t bound to the mail service.
I’ve been using Notion.so on and off for a few years and rather like the idea of being able to have my notes and documentation in one place. I also happened upon this Simple CRM Dashboard template (detailed post by its creator here) which meets my needs with a few minor adjustments and I’m trying it out as part of my workflow. Will see how it goes.
As a content creator, I also have a tendency to jot down ideas for things to write or talk about, but don’t quite get around to executing them due to the mound of other things on my list. Also, once it’s jot down, it is not longer plaguing my brain so I forget about doing anything about it.
As part of my shift to using Notion.so more for documentation and as a CRM, I also found a default template Content Calendar (under the Marketing category) which now gives me a repository for dumping all of my content ideas, but also allows me to see them in context with each of my content mediums so that I can know what’s floating about waiting to be written and get them actively into a publishing workflow that’s also calendared for scheduling.
This post is first off the ranks with this new workflow so we’ll see how that holds up over time as well.
One other thing I’ve struggled with is that I treat my wanderings on the internet as a learning exercise, but without any real structure, so I have hundreds of open bookmarks across multiple browser workspaces, other things stashed in places like Instapaper, Pocket, and similar bookmarking services, and other media like podcasts saved and marked in other random and unhelpful ways.
It is not uncommon for me to be in conversation with someone, be reminded of something I saw or read online a while ago, and have no reasonable way of locating that article or bit of media again. Very frustrating.
But I learned about Zotero. It’s a research tool, often used by academics, but if you do research for anything, be it as an author, screenwriter, or in my case, science communication, interviews, and general knowledge hoarding, this is a great repository for storing all sorts of things you may find online or otherwise digitally. It’s fantastic and I can tag and note and search for things I’ve stumbled on to my heart’s content, provided I diligently add things I think may come in handy later.
Baby steps, but perhaps this will help nudge me back into thoughtfully managed productivity.
Also, much love for Zotero.