Mario Villalobos

Embrace Who You Are

My second day of school was way better than my first. Nothing felt overwhelming, yet it seems like I got more done. A big reason for that is that I brought my laptop and iPad to work and used those tools to help me organize my life. How cool is it that I can use my own laptop and iPad at work and no one bats an eye? That’s going to take me some time to get used to. Not only that, but on Monday I’ll be able to bring in my new iPhone 6. Everybody better watch out because I’ll be some sort of productivity ninja.

Here’s what I did: I used my MacBook Air to establish a remote connection to the computer in the server room. I blew away one of the teachers by doing this. This means I don’t have to be tied down to a clunky old windows desktop and instead can move around freely with my MacBook and check in on the status of the server wherever and whenever I’d like. The next thing I did was organize my OmniFocus application. I created a work folder with a few projects underneath them. I have just two, a troubleshooting teacher’s questions and issues one and a miscellaneous one. I’m sure I’ll add more later. I then emailed the staff, introducing myself, giving them some of my contact info, and most importantly, giving them my special OmniFocus email address. They can email any and all requests there and it’ll go straight into my OmniFocus inbox. With this program, I can focus on what needs to be done around the school and not feel so overwhelmed. To top that off, I created people contexts. I only have a few right now — those that have talked to me already with their issues — but eventually I’m going to add everyone. So I have two views of organization. I have a project view, where I can see all the tasks that have yet to be done for the whole school. Then I have the contexts view, where I can break it down to individual teachers. So if I’m near Mr. X’s room, I can pull up my OmniFocus context perspective, see if he has any items, and if he does, check in on him and see if I can help him. It’s efficient, powerful, and so much fun. I then transferred all of yesterday’s notes and todo’s from my paper notebook into my trusted system, removing one more area of friction in my head. On Monday I’m going to bring my portable Doxie One scanner so I can scan any papers that may enter my life. That’s what I have my iPad and my Dropbox Pro account for, to help me go completely paperless. Finally, for the last few hours at work, I signed up for a subscription and watched some videos. The first seven days are free, but I’m already sure I’m going to be a member for a few months. They have so many courses that I know will help me learn and better understand the tech this school has. I’m going to be busy for a while.

That was a long paragraph. I wanted to illustrate the fact that to some people, being this nerdy is hilarious or they think I should get a life and go outside more often or something condescending like that. To those people, all I have to say is go fuck yourselves. This is who I am, and this is what I love to do. I want to organize my life, get everything out of my head and into a trusted system that technology is so good at helping me with. I can then focus on the work, on getting shit done, providing me time and energy to do what I’m passionate about. Every morning for the past twelve days, I’ve been writing the second draft of my novel. I finished the first chapter a few days ago, and I’m in the middle of my second. What’s helping me the most is technology. I’m using Scrivener to organize and write my novel, MindNode Pro to brainstorm it on my iPad (and my iPhone and Mac if I feel like it), OmniOutliner Pro on my iPad and Mac to help me structure the story, and Byword in combination with Dropbox to write down any notes or ideas I have on my iPhone and have it sync up to my MacBook. To top it off, I’m using OmniFocus to organize my todo’s for this project to ensure I get this beast done. Every morning at 5 AM the program tells me to get my ass up and write. And I do.

My entries are getting longer. We’re getting two entries in one here, people. All to tell everyone reading this to not be afraid of who we are. Embrace your personality, your likes and dislikes, and live the type of life that you control and that no one else dictates for you. That, I think, is true freedom, and it’s something I’m striving for every day. I’m not there yet, and I don’t know if I’ll ever be, but as long as I try, I’m happy. And I’m happy.