Do you need to pay for Todoist?

With the loss of a day job meant taking a hard look at my monthly outgoings and figuring out what can be dropped, the non essentials. Whilst some might say a monthly fee for your productivity app is essential, for me paying the electricity bills are more important.

I’d been using Todoist for a few months and enjoyed it but needed to either use the free tier or switch to something else.

I’m still debating the switch to something else but I’ve been testing if I can get away with not paying for a subscription.

Well, I’m about 80% certain I could but there’s one problem that’ll most likely mean a switch to a different app – notifications.

I can mostly use the app as I have been on the paid tier. I don’t use comments on a task, tags and the widgets all work fine. The only stumbling block is that the app won’t send me notifications unless I pay the monthly £3.99, which is half of my phone bill. I can’t justify it in these difficult times.

So, can you use Todoist for free? I’d say yes, as long as you can manage not getting notifications for your due tasks. For me it’s a no, I’m missing them too much and have missed several tasks because of it. I’ll be making the switch away from Todoist to another task manager.

Why I can’t recommend using Medium for your writing

I’ve been trying Medium for a day and I think I’m already done with it. I signed up for a free trial and wrote a few posts but I think it’s already giving me anxiety.

Let’s get the good stuff out of the way. The writing experience is very good, I like the clean editor and there’s no friction to publish.

Now onto the negatives…

Get rich quick

My timeline was full of “how I make $5,000 a day writing” or “3 ways that I’m better than you” posts – nothing good for my self esteem. In fact I could see no way to properly curate what you see in your timeline reading view. I simply can’t stand not being able to manage this, it’s one of reasons I never used the official Twitter app.

My writing isn’t suitable

The only articles that seem to get traction are like those above. The sorts of stuff I write isn’t going to be read. There’s so much content and you need to seem to be part of one of the publishing partners to “make it” on Medium. If you’re a small fry like me writing your daily thoughts then don’t bother, Medium isn’t for you.

Supporting creators

If you can afford it at £4.95 a month it seems a good idea to help support writers but only the top 5% probably get anything worthy out of it. If you want to support someone then support them directly via their own Patreon or Ko-Fi etc.

As a creator

If you’re a creator hoping to make money then it’ll be a long slog and remember you’ll be investing £4.95 a month too so that needs to offset what you’re making. Be prepared to spend £100’s to even get noticed. I’d rather put £10’s into my blog each year.

Wrap up

It takes a particular type of writing and personality to write on Medium I feel. Self improvement gurus and make money quick schemes are not what I’m about so it’s not for me – simple as that. I also want to calm the inputs in my technology life and Medium isn’t great at helping that. The app is more reader than writing and curating what you see seems pretty much impossible. If you’re like me on a traditional blog, writing a broad range of topics and thoughts as you get them don’t move to Medium.

My ultimate recommendation is stick to your own blog or start a new one, don’t start on Medium.

Is blogging in decline?

I still write here on my blog because I want to get things out of my head and into a form that I enjoy but I see a lot of others taking the move into video, podcasts or dropping their blog completely.

I’ve tried video back in 2008 and whilst I gained some small successes I ultimately found it wasn’t a platform I was comfortable with. I don’t like YouTube particularly and their algorithms I feel are responsible for some of where we are today.

I also found that I’m not comfortable being on video, know your weaknesses right? I hated reading the comments and unless you have the cash to make great content there’s likely 100’s of people who have already done a video on it.

Anyway, I digress, back to blogging.

Maybe blogging isn’t going away but the traditional days of having your own blog is going away in favour of something like Medium, a newsletter or social media.

For me I believe that you shouldn’t build your content completely on someone else’s platform. Having your own place on the internet is a good thing to do if you can afford to run it. I’m thankful I’ve have support to keep the lights on a little longer but I am looking long term and feeling a little concerned about its future.

After building up my little blog and ultimately not being able to turn it into something that helps me keep the lights on I have to admit I’m also looking to places like Medium to help fund me going forward. I’m actually going to cross post this to Medium as an experiment to see what happens.

I guess this is a bit of ramble to say I really have no idea where to go but I don’t think blogging is going away but it’s definitely evolving into something new.

How to stop doomscrolling

Doomscrolling was quite a new term to me but with 2020 and now 2021 I realised it’s what I’ve been doing and need to stop now. I’ve looked at all the places that this tends to happen to trying to stop myself.

  • Mainstream news
  • Twitter
  • Reddit
  • Forums

I don’t watch live TV so that’s not an issue to sort out, if you do then try not to leave it on the 24 hour news channels.

I’ve stopped checking mainstream news websites completely now. Unless I hear there’s some important announcements I’ll skip the endless reading of news. I’ll hear from those around me if anything super important comes up.

Twitter is coming off all of my devices. I’ll check in periodically on my Mac in Safari but it’s not doing me any good. If you use Facebook then do the same. Basically any social media app comes off.

Reddit is a hard one. I use it to keep up to date on things like F1 but I’ve found the community to be easy to attack someone for asking an easy question or having a different point of view to the majority of the subreddit. This should just be a case of deleting my Reddit app and sticking to it.

Forums tend to land in the same category as Reddit. I’ll just not check any, it’s only really Apple ones I look at and I can easily drop those.

You might want to start slowly and delete the apps on your smartphone and then only use a browser. You could also go cold turkey like me and write down the day you stopped to see how your mood changes. Keep a journal on how this goes to look back on when you’re feeling like you’ll start to check again. I tend to last a week then fall back into the trap but I’m determined to do better.

I apologise in advance to those of you I may not be interacting with on Twitter as much but this is something I need to do. If you follow along please let me know via my contact page on here.

12 apps

Looking at my setup I’ve realised that it’s only really 12 apps that I use on my iPhone these days. I’ve been sorting out my devices to help distract me less and I’m trying my best to only really check in on places like Twitter once or twice a week. I purged my iPhone of social apps and I’m slowing down on my consumption of podcasts including dropping most of my tech podcasts and listening to more around my other interests like Star Wars or space.

My Home Screen is just these 12 apps and the rest are in App Library. They are apps like settings and App Store but very little else.

My iPhone use has gone down (about 20% according to screen time) and I’m feeling a little better mental health wise so I’m hoping it’s as a result of these changes.

How many apps do you think you could get away with having on your iPhone?

An open world Star Wars game – Yes please

Wow, this is great news as a massive Star Wars fan and gamer. I love open world games and am currently working my way through Red Dead Redemption II in an attempt to finally finish the story instead of getting side tracked, but this is what I love most about open world games.

Yeah I’d love to see Rockstar have a go but UBISOFT is fine with me, getting a break from EA is going to be a good thing for the Star Wars universe of games.

The next iPad Mini Wish List

If you’ve been following along with my setup you’ll know that I’ve dropped the iPad Pro and switched to using my 12″ MacBook and an iPad Mini. I’m still getting to grips with it all but enjoying the more streamlined setup. Now I’m using the Mini as my iPad I do have some wants though as I move forward with using it.

FaceID or a new TouchID

I do like having the home button back but I can’t get over how much space those bezels take up on the Mini form factor. I imagine a full screen iPad Mini with a TouchID on the side button, like what Apple has implemented on the iPad Air. I have to think that if the Mini is currently an acceptable seller then this has to be in the works and I would totally be up for that one.

Squared off sides

I do miss the squared off sides of the 2020 iPad Pro. It looks fantastic and I prefer the grip is gives me over the rounded on the iPad Mini. First off it would look amazing but could also make for a thinner or maybe narrower iPad Mini, what a product that would be.

Colours

Getting more colours across the Apple range of products is something of a bugbear anyway but let’s see an iPad Mini with the same colour range of the iPhone 12 (red, blue, green especially).

USB-C

I have to think that it’s on the cards if we get an update. Nowadays only my iPad Mini and iPhone use Lightning, everything else I plug in daily is using USB-C.

Magic Keyboard

Who knows if it would work but it would be cool, I’d even be ok with it extending out a little to allow more room to type on. I can’t see this happening AT ALL, this is an out there suggestion but nothing wrong with me wanting it.

New Camera setup

Just copied from the iPad Air, no need to take it from the Pro. Just something better in lower light conditions so that scanning documents looks a little better. I use it for the occasional photo but it’s not recommended.

So, here’s my little wish list – any other Mini fans out there with wants?

How often should you post to substack?

I think I’ve misunderstood how Substack works or I should say how you should treat it. At the beginning I thought it could replace some of my daily posts but the more I thought about it, it’s a newsletter – I should really post to it weekly rather than as and when I think of topics as I do here.

So if you are thinking of using Substack to send newsletter content don’t think it like a blog, like I did initially. Think of it as a newsletter summary of what you have been working on or content you stick exclusively to it.

I’m still learning this but I think I’ll be sticking to my daily ramblings on the blog and then longer form or exclusive bits for Substack or just use it as a summary of my posts for the week – hmm..

I’m open to suggestions.

Sticking with what works

Sticking with what works is something that I need to constantly remind myself. This applies to everything from my watch, my tech and even my apps.

Learning new apps or playing with a new device is fun but takes me down a path of distraction.

The most recent example with gear was picking up a discounted Casio G-Shock but finding I couldn’t read the time as it was faint. I sent it back for a refund. In reality there wasn’t anything wrong with my Casio F-91w that’s light and comfortable.

I’ve also been playing with new to do apps but spending time moving between them is less time being productive.

Thinking about setup time on a new machine has me now sticking with my MacBook, there’s nothing wrong with what I’m already using.

I think it’s important before making that new purchase or productivity change to take a step back, give it an hour then think again why you are actually making the change?