Thoughts on SaneBox

Back in January, I shared I was beginning SaneBox’s free trial period to help get control over my email. As a teacher, I get urgent information from parents all day right next to needless spam. The signal to noise ratio was not where I needed it to be, and I was spending far too much time managing email instead of preparing lessons for my students.

I had heard about SaneBox for years on tech podcasts, but from the descriptions I heard, it sounded mostly like a server side way to snooze email which can be done in native clients such as Spark and Airmail for far cheaper. However, after I returned to using iOS’s default mail app which doesn’t have these features, something had to be done about email. Important things were being buried and forgotten as I was overwhelmed by junk. I decided to give SaneBox a try, and realized very quickly I would be purchasing a subscription.

The killer feature I had no idea about was the SaneLater folder. SaneBox intelligently sorts email for you and decides what should go immediately into your inbox, and what is less important, and can be read later. From day one, it was doing a great job of sorting for me. However, if something ends up in the wrong place, I simply move the email to the inbox, and all future emails from that sender will appear there.

I thought I would forget to check the SaneLater folder, but every day I get a SaneDigest email from SaneBox which tells me how many emails have been placed in my SaneLater folder that day. Generally, I go check it at that time (which I have set as the end of the school day), and spend 5 minutes dealing with it all. I can even wait a few days to manage my SaneLater folder because nothing in there is ever urgent. Meanwhile, important emails from parents of students or my principal go straight to my inbox.

I do have a few custom folders set up for receipts and TestFlight betas, and I use the SaneBlackHole to unsubscribe from emails as well. SaneLater is just the most useful feature for me.

If you’d like to give SaneBox a try, you can click here, which will give you $5 off your initial subscription.

Todoist Education Pricing

While I have traded my usage of Todoist for Things 3, Todoist is still an excellent task manager, and could very well be the right choice for many people.

This week, Todoist introduced their education pricing for students and teachers. It’s 50% off of the usual annual subscription. If you’re a teacher looking to get your task list under control this new year, this is a great place to start.

You can apply for the education discount here.

New Semester, New Plan

4 years into my teaching career, I’m still struggling to find the best way to lay out my lesson plans that allows me to easily make sure I’m covering what I need to cover, have all my materials together, and don’t forget day to day what I need to do.

Since August alone I’ve tried using Bear to hold all lesson plans, a digital bullet journal in GoodNotes, and a physical bullet journal in my Studio Neat Panobook.

I know part of the issue is my desire to always try new things which can prevent giving systems a chance to actually work. However, I also think part of the reason I can’t stay consistent is nothing strikes the right balance of enough detail that it’s useful without being too fiddly and time consuming.

In the last few weeks of last semester, I started using a few tools that I really like. Now over winter break, I have refined my system that I’ll be using as I head into the next semester this week.

The first app I’m using is Bear. I’ve written about using Bear for lesson planning before, but instead of laying out days and weeks worth of lessons as I was this time last year, I’m using Bear as a wiki of sorts for every state standard I have to teach and how they will be assessed. I use Bear’s tagging system (which is much handier with the recent updates in version 1.4) to group standards by subject, quarter, and unit. I also use note links to link related standards.

 My (Incomplete) Standards Wiki in Bear

My (Incomplete) Standards Wiki in Bear

With Bear’s excellent URL scheme, I can link to specific standards from other parts of my planning workflow if needed.

Bear is great for big picture planning, but for day to day lessons, I’ve decided to just use my calendar. Fantastical (iPhone, iPad) is my main calendar app, and it works great for what I need. I created a separate Lesson Plan calendar in my iCloud account, and add plans to it. As a self contained 2nd grade teacher, I teach multiple subjects a day. I lay out every subject, every day of school with a short description of the lesson in the title. I then have several ways which I will cover later to see my plans for each day.

Rather than go through the tedium of entering each day’s lessons myself, I have a Workflow which does this for me. I have a repeating task in Things 3 (iPhone, iPad) that reminds me every Thursday to run this workflow for the next week. I could just use repeating tasks, but the amount of time it takes to delete these on days where there is no school or a special event adds up to way more than it takes to run this workflow every week.


Once I add lessons to my calendar, I view them a few different ways. The first is with the Siri Face on my Apple Watch. Many days I wear this while at school so I can always see what I’m teaching next, as well as have quick access to my Things today view via the complication and any timers I run during the day automatically show up.


Speaking of Things, one of the major reasons I started using it as my task manager instead of Todoist last month was its fantastic calendar integration. Every morning I look at the Today view which shows me tasks already set for that day. I can then look at what I’m teaching in the calendar section as well to see if there is anything I need to do to prepare the lesson such as print or gather materials. If I do, I add that to my task list to make sure it’s ready for the lesson.


We’ll see how this works for me in the first few weeks of the semester, but I feel like it will be a good balance of organized without hours of work.

The Enneagram, Things, and Ticci

I have been microblogging a lot lately about both the Enneagram (here and here) and transitioning to Things as my task manager (here and here). While I haven’t said as much, the two are actually related.

I wasn’t 100% sure I would actually post this, but after the latest episode of Connected where Federico Viticci talked about why he made the transition from Todoist to Things, there were enough similarities that I needed to share my story as well.

The Enneagram

I had planned on writing a big post on the Enneagram at some point, and that may still come, but I need to explain some things about what it is in order to explain how it has impacted my task manager choice.

In the shortest terms, the Enneagram is a personality typing system. In some ways it’s similar to Myers-Briggs or Disc, or other popular personality test. In a lot of ways though, it’s different.

The Enneagram teaches that there are nine different personality styles in the world, one of which we naturally gravitate toward and adopt in childhood to cope and feel safe. - Ian Morgan Cron, “The Road Back to You”

If you’ve heard a lot of people talking about the Enneagram lately, it’s becoming popular in Christian circles because Ian Cron, a popular Christian author, wrote a book about it. But The Enneagram is not a religion. It’s not tied to one. It’s not something you have to believe or follow. It’s a tool to help you understand yourself, the good and bad. That’s it.

As I’ve studied the Enneagram over the last 6 months or so, I’ve determined I gravitate toward type 3 which is often called “The Performer” or “The Achiever.” Like all 3s, at some point in my life I began to believe that love was based more on what you did than who you are. I will transform myself (or perform) based on whatever situation I’m in to try to win people over and make them think I’m successful. I’m obsessed with productivity and efficiency because the more I do, the more value I have. This isn’t all bad. If you need someone to get a job done, find a 3. But the underlying motivation for me is often unhealthy.

So I’m slowly trying to let myself be at times. Let myself do nothing. Let myself stop always being busy. Being ok with not everything I do being a success.

This is where the transition of task managers has come in.

Todoist to Things

I started using Todoist about a year ago as my primary task manager. We got an Amazon Echo Dot in our kitchen, and I wanted to try working with a task manager that I could easily add tasks to using Alexa (it turns out I never did this anyway). Todoist stuck though.

One of the stickiest aspects of Todoist for me was Karma. Todoist even quoted me on their blog talking about how much I loved Karma. Every day I would work my tail off to reach 0 tasks in my Todoist Today view or continue my streak. When I didn’t make that happen, I would get stressed out. Anxious even. I started hating even opening Todoist because I felt like I couldn’t be good enough at my job to get everything done that I needed to. \ I tried turning off Karma, but it was so deeply connected with using Todoist in my brain I knew I probably needed to get out.

I’m at almost 2 weeks of using Things, and the way Ticci described it in this week’s Connected has been my experience as well. I like that there’s no karma. I like that if I don’t complete a task on a certain day, it just remains on my task list for the next. I like that there’s no congratulations from the app for getting through all of my to-dos for the day.

Things helps me do my job while not making my job my life.

There are definitely things about Todoist that I miss, but after 2 weeks, I’m really happy I made this transition. I hope it leads to more balance, and less stress in the long run. Ticci trying out Things for the same reasons was further confirmation for me that I’m on the right track.

You can pick up Things for iPhone for $9.99 and for iPad for $19.99.

MindNode 5

I don’t know exactly how I found MindNode, but I’ve been using it for at least 5 years as the primary place I get ideas out of my brain to organize and write. I used it in grad school, I’ve laid out semesters worth of lessons, and most blog posts (including this one) begin in MindNode.

Version 5 of MindNode for iOS releases today, and it is a terrific update.

MindNode 5 brings iPhone X support, iOS 11 Files support, and Drag and Drop to the app. These are needed/welcome changes, but not the most exciting features of the update.

It also features an all new design that fits in really well on iOS 11 and the iPhone X especially. Menus are now located in a card that can be resized by the user and feature more options for customizing the appearance of your mind map. Also, if the background of the mind map is black, MindNode will convert the menus to a dark mode.

 MindNode 4 vs MindNode 5

MindNode 4 vs MindNode 5

These customizations can be saved as custom themes that can be reused. I’ve made my own dark theme I really enjoy.

Perhaps my favorite new feature is an option to have “orthogonal branches.” Basically, lines in your map can have 90 degree angles instead of just being curved. I think this looks really nice, and I wish there was an option to have this be the default. Branches can also be placed in a top down orientation which I use with my students for tree maps.

This is a great new version of one of my favorite apps. It’s free to try with an in-app purchase of $14.99 to unlock the full version. If you’re an owner of MindNode 4, the new version is $9.99.

280 on Twitter vs

Earlier today, I posted the following on my microblog and twitter:

It’s funny how much I’ve enjoyed 280 characters on, but how much I hate it on Twitter.

I’ve gotten a lot of people agreeing with me, but not for the same reasons I have. While I don’t want to add to the people complaining about Twitter’s 280 character change, I’ve had enough interactions with people on the subject that I want my thoughts in one place.

Here are my 2 main problems with 280 characters on Twitter vs

  1. I’ve been on Twitter for 9 years. It has always been 140 characters. It’s jarring to scroll my feed and it suddenly look so different. has always been 280 characters and truncated my posts longer than 140 behind a link when cross-posting to Twitter.
  2. People are still doing tweet threads, but they’re 280 character tweet threads. It’s even more obnoxious. With, when you go over 280, it becomes a real blog post and just has a link. This makes so much more sense.

Yes, there is the ridiculousness of what people say on twitter (including taking 280 characters to tweet about 280 characters), but these 2 are the biggest factors for me.

I wonder how much longer I’ll use Twitter beyond cross-posting from Returning to more RSS usage instead of Twitter seems more and more appealing every day.

6s Plus to X

Like almost everyone in the Apple nerdosphere, I cannot wait until my iPhone X arrives tomorrow. It’s unfortunate that UPS usually doesn’t come to my house until between 6:30 and 7pm, but I will try to wait patiently.

As I’ve spent some time reading reviews this week and trying to learn more about how the X will work, I’ve realized this is a really big update for me since I skipped the iPhone 7 generation and am upgrading from a 6S Plus.

Haptic feedback and the zoom/portrait mode are things I’ve realized I’ll be getting along with FaceID, the OLED display, and Animoji. Not to mention that zoom/portrait mode have the new, better camera and Portrait Lighting.

This phone isn’t just the new sexy. It’s a major feature update for me. Just over 24 hours now. Bring it on.

Ulysses 12

Today the team over at The Soulmen have released Ulysses 12 for iOS. Ulysses has been my text editor for around 2.5 years including my final master’s research, and I immediately subscribed when they switched their pricing model this year. I didn’t know I could love this app much more, but version 12 takes it to a whole new level.

I’ve been on the beta for a bit, and there are 2 key features that have truly delighted me: drag and drop and inline image preview.

I use Apple’s Pages a lot in my classroom to make rubrics and tests for students. Recently, I started working on an activity for students in Pages that ended up having a lot more writing in it than I originally anticipated. I regretted not starting in Ulysses using markdown then moving to Pages.

I opened Ulysses in split view, selected the text in Pages, dragged it into Ulysses, and watched with delight as Ulysses converted the rich text to markdown automatically. It felt like magic.

Ulysses 12 also features inline image previews. Prior to version 12, to add an image to a sheet, you had to type (img) and you would see a small placeholder indicating an image. In Ulysses 12 you can simply drop an image into the app from anywhere and you will see a thumbnail of the image in the sheet. This makes it much easier to remember what images you have added and why.

Ulysses will always be one of the first apps I install on a new device, and version 12 makes it that much better. It’s available on the App Store, and you can try it for free for 14 days before you subscribe.

Returning to Apple Mail on iOS

A few months ago, I shared I was looking for a new email client:

Here are the features I need in an email client:

  • Sharing a link to the content of an email to another app (such as Todoist or Workflow).
  • URL scheme for accessing emails (see previous item) and creating emails via Workflow or Drafts.
  • The ability to search an entire exchange directory for a contact (super helpful in a very large school district).
  • UI that helps you see your mail and is easy to navigate.
  • Reliable Functionality

It turns out that with iOS 11’s Drag and Drop feature now being used by many 3rd party apps, Apple Mail now meets all of these requirements.

I can drag a message from Mail into Todoist and a link to the message will be placed in the task. Workflow and Drafts both have email actions thanks to Apple’s native APIs. Mail can search an exchange directory. The UI is nicer to look at than Airmail’s, and it actually works and doesn’t have constant bugs like Airmail did.

Plus, Mail has the added benefit of working more naturally with drag and drop when adding email attachments. With Airmail, half the time when I dropped an attachment into an email, it would never show up.

Is Airmail more powerful? Absolutely. I’ll definitely miss snoozing emails. But I think being able to trust my email client to actually send emails is worth the trade off.

For the foreseeable future, I’m going to stick with Mail. It and Notes are on the list of default iOS apps I’m using every day instead of a 3rd party service. Who says Apple can’t make software?

Day 1 With Apple Watch Series 3

I think UPS must hate me. Our house is always at the end of their route, and they don’t tend to deliver new Apple products until after 6pm. My wife and I went to a concert Friday night, so we were not home for the arrival of,k her iPhone 8 and my Apple Watch Series 3. I did set up my watch when we got home, but yesterday was my first day actually wearing it.

Here are my thoughts after 1 day with the Space Gray Aluminum Apple Watch Series 3 GPS + Cellular with Dark Olive Sport Loop.

  • After 2.5 years with a Stainless Steel Apple Watch, this aluminum doesn’t even feel like it’s on my arm. The steel wasn’t horribly heavy, but this weight is so nice.
  • I had no issue setting up the cellular connection with AT&T unlike many other people. It was quick and easy.
  • I love the Sport Loop. I wore it during a workout and while mowing my grass, and it breathes more than the Sport Band did, but doesn’t retain moisture the way the Nylon Bands do. The Dark Olive is a really nice color. The fabric on the sides and underneath the velcro is actually olive green, but it’s quite subtle. The loops themselves are way more gray than in the pictures. I really like the look though, and may end up getting another color as well. The only question for me is the durability of the loops. Time will tell on that.
  • That Explorer Face is sexy. It goes really well with the Space Gray body and the red dot.
  • The Series 1 and 2 watches were 50% faster than my Series 0 according to Apple at their launch. The Series 3 is 70% faster than 1 and 2. If you do the math, that’s 255% faster than my Series 0. Let’s just say it’s noticeable. Everything from launching apps to Force Touch and Siri are actually responsive. It makes the watch so much more usable.
  • I did an Iron Tribe workout early in the morning for 45 minutes and tracked it with _David Smith’s fantastic Workouts++ app. When I was finished, the watch battery was at 94%.
  • I also ran a workout and listened to music using my AirPods while mowing for an hour. The battery percentage ended in the 80s.
  • I ran a cellular experiment leaving my phone in my car while I ran in the grocery store. I listened to music on my AirPods, texted my wife and a friend, asked Siri some questions, and checked off items in our shared Todoist grocery list. The one place this fell down was with Todoist as it hasn’t been optimized to work away from the phone. I ran into problems when I got into the store and Todoist hadn’t synced to add things to the list (so I unfortunately ran out to the car to fix it). Then when I got back to my phone after shopping, the phone reset my completed items as incomplete. Developers are going to have to do some work to get their apps ready to work independently from the phone. I hope they have enough motivation.
  • I finished the day at 55%. This was with me using it even heavier than a normal day. Compare that to my 2.5 year old Series 0 battery who struggled to make it to the end of the day by the time it retired. It makes a big difference.

I love this watch. I’m extremely pleased with the cellular capabilities, the speed, and the look. Being untethered from my phone while still being reachable in emergencies is game changing. Apple has made huge strides since the watch debuted. Now if only you could stream or listen to podcasts on it with no phone around.

My Drag and Drop Request

I’ve been running iOS 11 on my iPads since June, and have been sad not having many apps to take advantage of the new features. That has finally changed this week with the public release of iOS 11.

But as more and more apps add new Files and Drag and Drop capabilities, there has been an omission that greatly frustrates me, and even Apple’s own iWork apps have this issue.

I create a lot of material for my job as a teacher in Pages, but none of my grade level team members use an iPad or even a Mac for their work machines. In order to share with them, I have to export as a Word document or PDF and email it to them.

While I can easily drag a Pages file into Airmail, I cannot drag an document exported to another format. Right now to reply to an email (instead of creating a new one) with an attachment from Pages, I have to save the exported PDF to Files using the Share Sheet, then drag from Files (or use the attachment menu in Airmail). Then I need to delete the document from files as I no longer need it.

I would love to see Apple place a draggable thumbnail of the PDF in the export share sheet right next to where the AirDrop controls are.

 Drag and Drop from here in the Share Sheet

Drag and Drop from here in the Share Sheet

Being able to drag out of the share sheet of anything system-wide would improve the speed of my workflow, and help me avoid a frustrating set of extra steps.

Viticci’s iOS 11 Review

On the iPad, the floating preview supports drag and drop, so you can hold it and drop it in other apps. This is particularly effective when combined with the ability to return to floating mode after you’ve edited a screenshot. From the markup view, hit the Home button, and the annotated screenshot will shrink into a thumbnail again so you can grab it and drop it as an edited version.

There are 2 reasons I always read Viticci’s reviews of an operating system I’ve been running for close to 3 months. First, tidbits like the one above I never would have discovered on my own. The depth of his knowledge on iOS and its frameworks is unmatched outside of Apple.

Second, the insight, thought, and care put into every word really is extraordinary. No one else could write a review like this. It makes me think about where iOS’s shortcomings are, and gets me excited about the potential for the current version I couldn’t see myself.

Go read this review. It’s worth the time.

Another Apple Event Thoughts Post

I hadn’t actually planned on sharing any thoughts on Tuesday’s Apple event. I’ve read and listened to so much commentary from far smarter people, I felt like I would just be regurgitating. But there have been a few topics I continue to hear people debate, so I’ve decided to add to the noise. This won’t be comprehensive. I’ll only weigh in where I feel I have something to contribute.

Who is the iPhone 8 For?

A lot of people have speculated Apple will have a difficult time selling any iPhone 8 models due to the existence of iPhone X. While it’s true I plan to order a X, it is not the phone for everyone.

Tomorrow, I will be waking up at 1:55am to order my wife an iPhone 8. She is currently still using an iPhone 6 that is on its last leg. To put that into perspective, her phone doesn’t have 3D Touch, Live Photos (which are a big deal to us with small children), raise to wake, or even the 2nd generation Touch ID. An 8 will be a huge update for her.

She also doesn’t care about the latest and greatest, and can often be change averse. The loss of the home button and her standard way of doing things will make the X less appealing, not more. The iPhone 8 is an almost perfect device for her (it would be nice if it came with the dual camera system).

Between my wife and all of the teachers I work with who just want a dependable phone with a good camera, I think Apple will sell plenty of iPhone 8s. The 8 Plus seems harder to justify because the cost difference between it and the X are not nearly as great, but I’d bet on the 8 being a hit.

Face ID vs Touch ID

I’ve heard several people say they wish the iPhone X either came with Face ID and Touch ID on the back or Touch ID would make a return under the screen at some point in the future.

I understand their desires, but I for one don’t want that (assuming Face ID works, which I believe it will). How much more often is there something on my hands (I do have small children after all) which prevents Touch ID from working than there’s something on my face?

I feel like there’s a possibility Face ID will eventually be more reliable than Touch ID. I’m really excited about it.

A11 Bionic

I’ll be honest and say I know very little about computer processors other than they seem to be growing faster over time. But the amount of things the A11 Bionic chip in the new iPhones is able to do in real time is mind blowing to me. When I stop to think about how much data needs to be processed instantaneously for Face ID or the new Portait Lighting camera features, it truly astounds me.

Though these numbers don’t mean a whole lot for actual usage, Geekbench is reporting the A11 Bionic as being on par with the current 13” MacBook Pro. Apple’s silicon team is what is keeping Apple so far ahead of the rest of the industry, and also why I have a fair amount of confidence in Face ID.

I can’t wait to get my hands on these devices. I’ll be updating my Apple Watch from a Series 0 to a 3, and iPhone from 6s Plus to X. It’s going to be a fun few months as an Apple fan.

Talking Automation on Robby Burns + Friends

I had a blast being a guest on Robby Burns + Friends to talk about how I’m using automation tools in my classroom. It was my first foray into podcasting, but it was a blast. I hope to do more.

I hope it’s helpful to any teachers out there looking to use technology to make their life easier.

Apple Acknowledges Siri Leadership Has Officially Moved From Eddy Cue to Craig Federighi - Mac Rumors

Joe Rossignol, writing for MacRumors:

Cue continues to oversee the iTunes Store, Apple Music, Apple Pay, Apple Maps, iCloud, and the iWork and iLife suites of apps, and handing off Siri should allow him to focus more on Apple's push into original content.

Interesting to see more and more being taken off of Cue’s plate. First the App Store in 2016, and now Siri.

Some people will likely say it’s due to Apple’s dissatisfaction with Cue’s management, but I can’t imagine that’s the case. Siri has become such a core part of all 4 of Apple’s operating systems, it makes more sense for Federighi to be have responsibility.

Also, Cue has always been known as a deal maker. Managing content deals for iTunes, Apple Music, iBooks, and now original programming has always seemed more in his wheelhouse. Though hopefully the new original content works out better than Planet of the Apps and Carpool Karaoke.

I think this is a positive thing for Siri and Cue.

ARKit and Autism: New Futures

Craig Smith:

We have already seen some spectacular demonstrations of what ARKit is capable of, and as always when new technological opportunities present themself, I consider what this could mean for the world of autism support and the education of children on the autism spectrum.

I was already really excited about the potential for ARKit, but seeing people like Craig dream about what the new framework provided to developers with iOS 11 can add to the classroom makes me a bit giddy.

With the new $300 iPad and technologies like this which aren’t available on Chromebook, I hope the iPad can really make a dent in the education market.

Star Wars Forces of Destiny

I’m a huge Star Wars fan, and as a parent, I’ve been excited to introduce my girls to the Star Wars universe. With my oldest only being 3, I haven’t had a great way to do that.

The movies are too intense, and probably wouldn’t hold her interest anyway. The Clone Wars series is too dark, and Rebels is great, but still has some scary elements. But now we have Forces of Destiny.7

Forces of Destiny is a series of 8 short YouTube videos (the longest is just over 3 minutes long) featuring strong women of the Star Wars universe including Princess Leia, Rey, Jyn Erso, Ahsoka Tano, Padme Amidala, and Sabine Wren. Best of all, with the exception of the late Carrie Fisher, all of the characters are voiced by their original (or Clone Wars) actors.

There are some action scenes, but none of them are too violent or scary. However, I recommend you watch them first and make the right decision for your children.

I love that my girls can watch women being awesome, and that they get excited about a universe and characters I love dearly.

Forces of Destiny

Workflow and Todoist

I recently ran into a strange issue when trying to automate Todoist task creation with Workflow. While very few people probably use Todoist the exact way I do, I thought I would share just in case it can help someone.

As a teacher, I only have a small time before/after school and during my planning period to complete it. If I set a due time for each of those task, it would generally be 4pm every day when I generally leave school. However, I check Todoist every day before I leave school. I don’t need a half dozen notifications going off at the same time. So for most tasks I set a due date with no time and work from Todoist’s today list.

The problem I ran into was with Workflow creating tasks in Todoist. Even when I would use a format date action and remove the time from the due date I selected, when the task went into Todoist, it would always have a time of midnight the task would show as past due. It’s a small thing, but it drove me crazy.

I reached out to Workflow, and they looked into it, and eventually told me they felt like the issue was on Todoist’s end (Todoist actions go through the Todoist API unlike many other iOS task management apps which use a URL scheme). I reached out to Todoist, and it seems the problem is indeed with their API.

Fortunately, they offered me a workaround until they could get the issue sorted. In Workflow, if you set the due time of your task as 23:59:59, Todoist will remove a time and leave just a due date. 🤷🏻‍♂️


For a couple examples of how I use this on a daily basis, here are a couple Workflows.

In Todoist Email Task, if I need to remember to email someone later, this creates a task in Todoist with a URL that I can tap to launch Airmail and automatically fill in the subject of the email. This is handy if I need to remember to tell a student’s parent something that happened during a day, but can’t do it while I’m actively teaching.

In Airmail to Todoist, I use Airmail’s custom actions to make a link in Todoist to a specific email I may need to reference to complete a task or an email I absolutely cannot forget to respond to. I tap the link in Todoist, and immediately see that email again.

This week’s episode of Upgrade re-ignited my love of automation, and with school having just started, I’m starting to look for more things I can automate. I’m glad I found this workaround, so I can have Workflow add even more things to Todoist automatically for me.

No More

For better or worse, I have always lived my life trying to please other people.

Ok, maybe there’s more worse to that than better.

It has led to a tendency to be a diplomat and a bit false sometimes. I can say what I think people want to hear, and I don’t like ruffling feathers.

So I have only on rare occasion posted anything online about politics or religion. But that stops today. This is too important.

I’m a white male who was raised in the south. For far too long I have been blind to my own racial prejudice. Not overt racism, but a subtle lack of understanding. Over the last few years, I have worked hard to find my blind spots and correct them. I’ll never be done, but I’m trying.

I’m also a Christian. I believe the Apostle Paul when he says in the book of Galatians

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. - Galatians 3:28

In the context of the surrounding verses, Paul is not talking about differences between races and genders not existing. They do exist, and should be celebrated. Rather, Paul says we are all sinners. None is better than the other. The grace provided to us on the cross of Christ is not provided on merit, race, or gender. It is freely provided out of love. Who am I to look at someone and think I’m better than them when I’m in need of grace just as much, if not more than them?

And so I want to say publicly that I will not tolerate racism or hatred. I spend my days teaching to make sure that all children, regardless of background, race, gender, or religion have the opportunity to be successful. I will stand up to those who do not share that view.

Last weekend in Charlottesville was not “good people on both sides.” It was evil, and I don’t want my children or my students to grow up in a world where that’s accepted. I want their generation to not have to see events like this past weekend happen again. And while I’m afraid that may not happen until Jesus comes back, I’m going to do my part while I’m here to make that a reality.