A couple of housekeeping notes about changes in the next month or so.
I’ll be ending or replacing the audio version of the posts. The audio service I’m using for the blog is a good one, but it costs more than the use I’m getting out of it. There are some free services I’ll look at again.
I’m switching to a different email subscription service. Google is ending FeedBurner’s email subscriptions in July, so I’ll be looking for another provider.
My time management system is continuing to improve. Every few days I think of a new change to try. You may have noticed I’ve posted the last few blog updates on time. Sunday is the deadline I’ve had in mind since I started my weeknotes, but it wasn’t until a couple of weeks ago that I decided to imagine I had a weeknote presentation Sundays at 5pm I had to be on time for. That’s done the trick, at least for now. It also helps that I give myself a couple of hours to write the post. My time management changes have begun merging the two different systems I’ve been using at work and at home. I’m using my work timer for some of my home tasks, and this week I’ll try planning out my work day with time blocks.
Productivity for INFPs by Amanda Linehan nudges me to experiment with intuitive planning. Like The Art of Procrastination, it highlighted the importance of individual differences when it comes to managing life. She wrote the book (or the blog posts that became the book) because the typical productivity advice didn’t work for her and she found her own techniques that do. The book was another good catalyst for reflecting on how I work, since as an INFJ, I have a lot of overlap with INFPs. Interestingly, it seems that one way we differ is that Linehan wanted to focus on the intuitive side we share that I typically discount. It makes me want to experiment with paying more explicit attention to my intuition when I’m planning. However, I’m not giving up my lists! She trusts her mind to remember much more than I trust mine.
Making It All Work by David Allen is a large and familiar stepping stone on my current path to revamp my productivity system. I’ve read both this book and Getting Things Done before, and since GTD is basically how I like to work and I reread GTD last year, I thought it’d be good to reread MIAW. This book is a slightly different angle on the system and goes into more depth on certain topics. Actually right now my path for this project is like ice, and I’m sliding down it freely. Thanks to my familiarity with GTD and its compatibility with the way I think, along with the progress of my outlook since last time I visited it, it’s sparking many thoughts. Allen is right: Returning to the material does reveal new insights.
I came up with a ballpark estimate for disability insurance. My sources say to expect a premium of 1-3% of your income, so I went with 3%. A slightly intimidating number, but still doable. I’m training myself to think of disability insurance as just another given of financial life, like health and auto insurance. My employer’s benefits already include both short- and long-term disability coverage, but I may want to supplement it to cover a larger percentage of my income and so I can hopefully have some coverage in case of unemployment. Later in this project I’ll look into the specifics of buying the insurance.
I found out I’m already in the advised range for retirement saving. I’ve seen ranges of 12-15% and 15-20% of your income, including any employer contributions. If I’m reading my numbers right, I’m at 15.6%. Next I’ll look at retirement savings advice in more detail, because I’m still confused about things like how inflation fits into these calculations.
I’ve been getting my old CRT TV ready to sell. Now that my cleaning is under control, I’m starting to add tidying to my housekeeping time. The first item on that agenda is the big TV taking up space in the corner of my living room. This will probably lead to organizing my closet, since it’s been annoying digging through my storage boxes to find the equipment I need to test the TV. My digging has already unearthed a digital kitchen scale I forgot I had, a thing I was about to buy, so who knows what other treasures I’ll find?
Wednesday was my latest ulcerative colitis treatment, two weeks overdue. I’ve had some run-ins with our complicated medical bureaucracy in the past, but this time it stepped its game up a level. My pharmacy entered some kind of business arrangement with another pharmacy, which was now supposed to be handling my medication. But they couldn’t fill it because of the way my insurance was classifying my treatments. With help from the specialist nurse at my doctor’s office, I spent the month of April making many phone calls to resolve the situation. I got switched to yet another pharmacy, and after a few more calls they worked out how to get my medication shipped to the treatment center.
This experience has revealed to me that it really can pay to be your own advocate and not just trust the system to get the right things done. I’m grateful to my nurse for encouraging me to take this approach. It actually felt pretty empowering. But I know a lot of people have even more tangled and stubborn situations than mine, and it seems like there should be a more systemic solution than expecting everyone to manage the bureaucracy from the bottom up.
I started setting up my new Surface. My 5-year-old Surface Pro 4 was physically breaking, the screen bowing outward and starting to separate from the frame, which my work Surface had also done. So I ordered a new one, a Surface Pro 6, which isn’t the newest model but almost as good, and I saved $500. Last time I thought I’d use my Surface as just a dumb terminal to my desktop, but it ended up being my main computer, so this time I got the highest specs I could, 16 GB of RAM and a 1 TB hard drive. I was a little uneasy buying it from a random third party supplier over Amazon, but despite being an old model, it was sold new, and so far so good.
Unlike some people, I don’t get excited about setting up a new computer. I’m just trying to get stuff done, so interrupting myself to spend hours replicating my setup is a chore. But I have the basics done so it’s usable for my everyday purposes, and the rest I can set up as I need it. I can even treat some of it as housekeeping, since I have a mountain of files that need to be tidied.