The Round Up #15

Hey Everyone, welcome to this week’s edition of The Round Up. A weekly newsletter where I share interesting ideas, videos, podcasts and other things that I’ve found on the internet. The goal of this newsletter is to be the most interesting thing that you have in your inbox. If I am not achieving this please let me know how I can make it better by responding to this email.

I am quitting coffee

I’ve heard a few good testimonials of people who have quit coffee and have gotten better sleep and have been able to get more work done. Many also report being able to think more clearly. Since I literally get paid to think, problem solve and write – thinking clearly is rather important to me.

Here is how it’s going to work

I am going to use June as my control month. I am going to continue ingesting inordinate amounts of caffeine, as per usual. In July I am going to quit, cold turkey. I will measure my sleep quality, sleep duration and productivity for the month of June and July. In theory if caffeine is having an adverse affect on my sleep or productivity, it should reflect in these metrics.

What happens next?

Well, if caffeine is having an adverse affect on me, I’ll seriously consider quitting it altogether. But, that’s only if it is. While this experiment is by no means pure science and my method is rather janky, if I don’t see any adverse effects, I’ll keep on my merry way chugging coffee like it’s orange juice on a hot summer’s day.

Forgotten Tragedy: British Giant Airship R.101

Here is a 18min mini documentary about the R101, a British airship (Like a really really big hot air ballon) that was intended to do flights around the world in the 1930’s. This project ended in tragedy, the narrator gives excellent historical background into why this accident occurred.

Get faster at typing and read a book at the same time

Want to improve your typing and getting some reading done at the same time?
This website allows you to practice your typing skills by typing out ENTIRE classic novels such as George Orwells’s 1984 and Animal Farm.

Screwdrivers are dumb

I’ve been thinking a lot about “Productivity Tools”. The term itself is vague. Technically anything that aids a human being in getting work done could be a productivity tool. But I am talking about the kind that we carry around with us everyday. Specifically our phones, laptops and the apps that we install on them. They’re all intended to aid us in getting more work done, yet we seem more distracted than ever and busier than ever.

Leonardo Da Vinci is famous for his notebooks that he left behind. Someone once said that if Da Vinci’s books were found sooner the entire industrial revolution would have occurred sooner. The point being that the breadth and depth of his knowledge recorded in those note books is remarkable. The question I have though, is rather more nuanced: If Da Vinci was alive today, would he have used a note taking app or todo list app? He probably would have owned a phone seeing as even 10 year olds seem to own a phone these days.

Shopping lists, drawings for inventions, plans for paintings, sketches and odd poems have all been found in Da Vinci’s notebooks. These notebooks were home to most of his thinking. He thought by writing and he wrote what he thought.

Bear with me, this all has a point. Perhaps these days we put too much emphases on finding the right tool rather than just doing the job for which the tool was intended?

Think about a screwdriver. You get some really cheap, nasty screwdrivers. You also get some that are really expensive to the point where you’d question how someone could pay so much for a silly little tool. Here’s the thing though, it’s just a tool. When you’re assembling a new piece of furniture the best tool you have is the one in your hand, regardless of whether it’s expensive or so cheap that the steel starts to warp or the plastics breaks. Usually you’ll find a way to make do. You just want to assemble your brand new furniture after all.

For Da Vinci, his notebook was the best tool that he could get his hands on, because it was in his hands. You don’t need a new note taking app, phone or home gym equipment. You just need to stop making excuses and use the screwdriver that’s in your hand, you’ll make do. You’ll stop focusing on the best way to store your ideas and just have better ideas. You’ll stop figuring out the best way to keep track of your tasks, and just get stuff done.

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