Edition 36: Re-energized and no clue what to do with it?

Harnessing the energy

Last week I went to the Online News Association conference, one of my favorite things every year. 

Almost always, I get home from a conference or a really great brainstorming session and I have THE ENERGY. All sorts of things that I’ve learned are floating in my brain, and I have no idea what to do next.

This is a good time to break out your physical notebook.

I use something similar to the Strikethru method (I’ve recommended it before) and it goes something like this.

Step 1: Look at the dump.

I take notes at events and I usually try to star things that I want to follow up on. I also try really hard to use my flight home as “download time.” I free write, which sometimes turns into a post, sometimes just a journal entry, on everything going through my mind at the moment. I do this so I don’t lose thoughts, which I’m prone to do.

Step 2: Make the right now list

My to-do list has two parts. One part, which used to be housed on large super sticky post-its, but is now in a notebook, is the stuff I have to do right now. It’s usually something like “Email that awesome person I met” or “Find that article about revenue and save it.” These are immediate things I can do right now.

Step 3: Make the “think on it” list

These are random thoughts that have not quite made themselves coherent yet. When I was coming up with the idea for my API Empathy research, I had a space to write and dump random related things. I often start this section in a notebook and continue it online, in Bear or some other note-taking app (I’m trying out Agenda at the moment).

Step 4: Make your master plans

This is the stuff that has solidified itself. I have ideas, I know how to execute. I tend to put these at the back of my notebook or make a section in a new notebook. 

I write down goals, action steps and everything else I need.

I don’t follow this 100% to the letter every time. More often than not I don’t have any Master Plans right away, but they form after I’ve gotten home. I try to pick a couple things from the Think On It list and move them over to Master Plan, usually working on one or two at a time, no more than that. 

So, head to a coffee shop and try this out. And do let me know if you have success or tweaks to it!


(Sorry, dudes, this one is for the ladies).

I spill a lot. I also love the minimalist chic vibe for speaking or work. I got a lot of compliments on the last shirt I got from Elizabeth and Clarke, a subscription box company that does sizes up to 18 (!!) and specializes in “unstainable” clothing.

To be fair, my white t-shirt from them has a tiny chocolate stain on it, but otherwise, it’s repelled most stuff, sort of like its got RainX coating. The designs are also really cute and if you just want to test them out they have all their archived styles for sale. If you get 3 shirts a season, it comes out to something like $40 a shirt.

Great things I’ve read lately

Newsrooms need a culture of listening, from the American Press Institute. Honestly, most industries could stand to listen more. 

Why did the New York Review of Books publish that Jian Ghomeshi essay? This (somewhat troubling) interview in Slate seeks to find out.

Maisie Dobbs is a mystery series with a woman heroine who seems like she could show up at Downton Abbey any minute. It’s also a little about trauma and war. In short: read it.