A list of unread book lists

A few days ago, I wrote briefly about the need to make a list of all the book series I’ve started and haven’t yet finished.

Inspiration struck and I worked out how to do it easily and with productive laziness. Each book in a series on Goodreads links to the list of all books in the series. And since it’s a list maintained by the Goodreads community, there is no need for me to keep individual track of which books are listed. All I need do is track the lists, and the next book that I want to read. If I ever miss a book, then coming back to the list will give me the next one. I will only remove the link to the list once the series is 100% complete (or I’ve given up on it).

Doing this also cleared up my “Want to Read” list because instead of the remaining books, I have only the next listed.

Here are the results of my first hour of work on this. It contains the lists of books that were already in my “Want to Read” list. Now I have to go through books read for those series I’ve forgotten about and want to revisit.

Interestingly, there was no series in Goodreads for Walid and the Mysteries of Phi so I went and created one. 


Graphic novels

Newsfeed excerpts are a form of paywall

I’ve written in the past about my preference for newsfeeds to provide the full text of their posts rather than an excerpt that hints at content and requires me to visit a website for the full content (see here, here and here).

19 years on and there are still feeds which only provide an excerpt.

Unless the publishing platform being used prevents a full text feed, the only reason I can think someone would use excepts is to drive traffic to a site to increase hits to increase advertising revenue.

Similar to online newspapers with a paywall.

Maybe I’m naive and believe good writing, shared in full, will bring people to my site to read more. If I’m wrong, then that’s ok with me as I write to prompt thinking in others first and foremost.

How to enter dates quickly

I find myself entering dates all the time. In filenames, for tasks and in documents. As I’m Productively Lazy I use a text expander to save me time.

Read through to the bottom of the post for a link to download the text expansions I use daily.

Date formats

I use 2 date formats. YYYY-MM-DD and d MMMM YYYY. For today these are 2022-06-09 and 9 June 2022. To create these I use PhraseExpress with the following keystrokes. All are set to run immediately upon keying in.

All calculations are smart enough to wrap over month and year boundaries.

Standard day text, used anywhere

Autotext abbreviationPurposeExample
d==Today as YYYY-MM-DD2022-06-09
d++Tomorrow as YYYY-MM-DD2022-06-10
d–Yesterday as YYYY-MM-DD2022-06-08
dd=Today as d MMMM YYYY9 June 2022
dd+Tomorrow as d MMMM YYYY10 June 2022
dd-Yesterday as d MMMM YYYY8 June 2022
d2w2 weeks from today23 June 2022

Getting Things Done

Within Obsidian I use the Dataview plugin‘s features to help me manage tasks. The way I work, I only need created and due dates. All are in YYYY-MM-DD format and is prefixed with a “| ” to help split dates on a row eg “| 📆2022-06-09”.

The “Next” abbreviations are smart enough to know that if today is Thursday, you mean Thursday next week, but Saturday this week.

Autotext abbreviationPurposeExample
#==Due today| 📆2022-06-09
#++Due tomorrow| 📆2022-06-10
#1wDue 1 week from today| 📆2022-06-16
#2wDue 2 weeks from today| 📆2022-06-23
#3wDue 3 weeks from today| 📆2022-06-30
#4wDue 4 weeks from today| 📆2022-07-07
#–Due yesterday| 📆2022-06-08
#monNext Monday| 📆2022-06-13
#tueNext Tuesday| 📆2022-06-14
#wedNext Wednesday| 📆2022-06-15
#thuNext Thursday| 📆2022-06-16
#friNext Friday| 📆2022-06-17
#satNext Saturday| 📆2022-06-19
#sunNext Sunday| 📆2022-06-19

I use !!! and a the Dataview plugin to filter out the must do today items.

Autotext abbreviationPurposeExample
!!!Important| 🏆
!==Imporant today| 🏆 | 📆2022-06-09
!++Important tomorrow| 🏆 | 📆2022-06-10

Whenver I have a “@waiting for” task, I put in the date I started waiting using:

Autotext abbreviationPurposeExample
+==Started waiting today➕2022-06-09
+–Started waiting yesterday➕2022-06-08

Download my abbreviations

You can download a file containing my abbreviations for import into PhraseExpress. Expand the .zip file and the import. They will all work on Windows. The day based Getting Things Done abbreviations (Mon-Sun) may not work so well on a Mac.


Interrupting the flow of work has a tax

Nobody likes interruptions (unless they are good news) but regardless, each interruption that occurs takes not only the time of the interruption itself but a little longer as you strive to get back to where you were beforehand.

If you are in a flow state, this can take a long time and there is a risk you may not regain your previous level of thinking.

Reducing the cost of interruption tax

There are a few steps you can take to reduce the cost of an interruption tax.

  1. Limit the change of being interrupted. This can be anything from finding somewhere quite to work, to closing the door, to putting your phone on Do Not Disturb or making effective requests of those around you to keep away for a time.
  2. The previous step is even better if you can find a time where interruptions are less likely1.
  3. Develop the habit of pausing for a moment when the interruption first occurs to take a quick note on whatever it was you were thinking of so that you can pick it up later. Then when you return to your task, refresh your memory.
  4. Ask briefly for a moment to complete what you are doing. Most will accomodate and it has the added benefit of improving your listening to the concerns of others because they have your full attention.

1 This could be why many of us are more productive working from home than in an office.