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Fixing my toxic relationship with productivity - Brock's Bytes

Brock Herion
Brock Herion
Hey there! As always, thank you for taking the time for ready Brock’s Bytes and I hope you enjoy this weeks edition.

This week I had a revelation in regards to my relationship with productivity. For the past few weeks, I would end my days feeling drained. I never felt like I accomplished everything I set out to do during the day and that I wasn’t making progress towards my goals. This led to a vicious cycle of me feeling more defeated with each passing day.
What I realized was that I was focusing on the wrong things. I thought that by putting energy into creating a perfect productivity system my life would be more organized. The reality is that it doesn’t matter how pretty my Notion pages look if the setup doesn’t work for me.
You see, I’m a very chaotic person. The way I think does not fit nicely into any one structure. I thought to myself that made me think the issue wasn’t me, but the system itself. I put too much emphasis on trying to make the system pretty as opposed to functional.
I’ve been slowly changing how my system works. While it’s a work in progress, I have noticed a difference already. I’m less stressed about getting things done and less anxious about whether or not I’m moving toward my goals. I’m completing more in less time.
These are the tools I use to keep me productive:
  • Fantastical for calendar management. If there’s something going on at a certain time, it goes straight to my calendar. Recurring events, like daily reminders, also go into here.
  • Todoist for my to-do’s. I don’t use Todoist to actually build out a daily to-do list for myself. Rather, I use it as a to-do inbox. I only save actionable items that I need to do at some point, not right away. For things I can do right away, I usually just do it.
  • Roam Research for unstructured ideas and notes. I use Roam to take notes on whatever it is I’m currently learning or doing. Roam is great for letting me organize information and for showing it’s all connected.
  • Notion for structured content. Once I complete weeding my brain, I transfer all my raw thoughts into Notion and start putting them together in a more structured manner. This lets me do things like track project progress or plan blog posts.
  • Pen and paper for everything else. I have two notebooks, a small one that I carry with me everywhere and a larger one that stays on my desk. My smaller one is for writing down any thoughts or intuitions I have about absolutely anything. My larger one is used to reflect on my day and track my long-term goals.
Overall I’m much happier with this system. I’m able to see what I have to do in a day and plan ahead. And while I still have work to do in a few areas, I’m already less stressed out and have been able to accomplish more. I will keep refining my system so that it helps push me closer to my goals.
If you want to learn more about my system and how I’m using it, you can reply to this newsletter or send me a message on Twitter @brockherion.
As always, thank you for reading and I hope you learned something new! If you enjoyed it, please consider sharing.
Until next time,
Other Bytes
Here are a few other things from this week that I want to share with you!
  • 📖 I’m almost done reading The Great Gatsby. I haven’t read this book since high school but decided to give it another chance. I can safely say that I like it so much more now. It’s a great read that I can’t recommend enough. Pick it up on Amazon:
  • 📰 I read this great article by Lydia Hallie on how CORS works. This is something that has bit me a few times as a dev. Hallie not only provides a fantastic explanation as to how CORS works but gives great visual illustrations to go along with it. You can check it out on
  • 👨‍💻 I started learning VIM this week. Like with my productivity flow, I realized that I was putting my energy into the wrong place with it. I was more focused on making NeoVIM look pretty when I should have been learning the basics. I installed the IdeaVIM plugin in Rider and the VIM extension in Visual Studio Code to get started with the basics in a more forgiving environment. ThePrimeagen on YouTube has a fantastic getting started series:
  • 📦 I’ve been spending more time at my desk lately, either programming or playing Minecraft. The cable management behind my desk wasn’t the best, and looking at the tangled mess of wires gave me anxiety. I picked up this cable raceway kit on Amazon and it’s made a world of difference already. Installation is a breeze and they do a great job at organizing the mess of cables underneath my desk. You can find them on Amazon:
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Brock Herion
Brock Herion @brockherion

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