As 2018 comes to a close, it’s time for what’s become my favorite post of the year. I like looking back at the things I’ve invested in and spent time on. This year feels special to me because on top of it being my first full year in business, I spent a lot time automating processes and improving my workflows to be more productive. More on that in a different post, so for now, onto the favorites!
Gadget: Apple Pencil. In another year where I got so much great tech (including a new mic that’s been on my list for a while), the Apple Pencil seems like a dark horse, but here’s why it’s not. This year I committed to making the new iPad Pro my main travel computer (yet another blog post I need to write). The new Apple Pencil got an incredible redesign where it sticks right to the side of the iPad for inductive charging. As a result I’ve been using it a lot more. And as more apps begin to take advantage of it’s new “tap to switch” feature, I can see myself using it for more than just writing and drawing.
Honorable Mention: The Apple Watch, the iPad Pro, and a whole host of cables and charging devices that have made traveling and being away from my desk much easier.
App/Website: Omnifocus 3. In the constant quest to find the right task manager, I believe I’ve found a winner in Omnifocus. It allows me to easily capture anything I need to, and then organize later. I have hundreds of tasks, but I’m not overwhelmed because of how the app allows me organize and view them – I only see what I need to see. I’m a huge fan and I’m excited to dig into it even more in 2019.
Thing I Learned: Automation. Over the summer my friend Patrick asked what it would look like if I did less. I interpreted that as, “how can I offload the tasks that I specifically don’t need to do?” The answer lead to me finally taking advantage of automation tools. Between Zapier, IFTTT, and the new Siri Shortcuts, I’ve automated processes like managing my email list, editing and transcribing my podcast, booking guests, and spinning up projects. If there’s something I repeat regularly, I automate it. I’ll be doing a full blog series on this very topic, but if you want to get your feet wet, listen to the Automators podcast. Rosemary and David are pros that give you ideas as well as instructions.
Book: Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari. I read this book over the summer and loved it. It’s about 500 pages and it looks at how quickly humans evolved in our very short existence. It also provides lots of insights into why we are the way we are, and how our evolution affected the ecosystem around us. I thought it was incredibly interesting and look forward to reading the “sequel,” Homo Deus, about the species that we Sapiens could evolve into.
Honorable Mention: The President is Missing by James Patterson and Bill Clinton. This is notable for 2 reasons: it’s fiction, which I don’t read enough of, and it’s by 2 guys that I’m not necessarily fond of. I gained a lot of respect for Patterson after taking his Masterclass, and even more after this book. It was thrilling and it absolutely sucked me in. I could see how he applied a lot of what he taught, and I really like his writing style. A nice beach read if you’re looking for fiction.
TV Show: The West Wing. Hey! I watched a new (to me) TV show this year! Granted, it’s been off the air for over 10 years, but still – I loved the show. I binged it as quickly as I could. The fast pace, the Sorkin-style dialogs, and the longing for a president like Bartlet (as well as the insight into the fact that politics really hasn’t changed much in 20 years) had me coming back for more.
Honorable Mention: That’s literally the only new show I watched this year. The last season of House of Cards got such bad reviews (both online and from people I know) that I don’t want to go near it. But I do want to watch The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, The Man in the High Castle, and the last season of Game of Thrones in 2019. I think we all know what will be my favorite.
Music: According to Spotify, Peter Hollens takes the cake this year as my favorite artist. But recently I’ve gotten into Quite Drive, whom I’ve been digging.
Movie: The Avengers: Infinity War. Granted, I didn’t see nearly as many movies I would have liked (especially in November/December), but this one surprised and delighted me, until it cut me deep. I’m excited to see how it concludes next year.
Honorable Mention: Here are movies I saw that people said were bad: Solo, Ready Player One. They were wrong. And then here are the movies I want to see that could dethrone Avengers: Mary Poppins Returns.
Podcast: Cortex. Man I love this show. Grey and Myke have great chemistry, and the subject matter is always relevant to me. The insight into their workflows and how their brains work has me listening as soon as it shows up in my podcast feed. I’m almost as obsessive as Grey about certain things, but not nearly as driven as him to find the perfect solution, so I appreciate the work he does. He’s part of the reason I’m using Omnifocus.
Wrapping Up my Favorites of 2018
I consumed a ton of content this year, from online courses to books and podcasts. I feel like I grew more this year than I have since my first year at Crowd Favorite. I’m really excited about the stuff I’m working in in 2019, and it’s mostly due to this list. What did you love in 2018? Let me know in the comments!