The bagger at the grocery store said, “Hi, neighbor!” and I wasn’t sure if she was talking to me. I hesitated, and then thought, well why not? Aren’t we all neighbors in one way or another? So I looked up from the card reader and said hi, and realized she lives in the house two doors down from us.

It’s taken me and our founder, Amnon, the better part of a year to work through the language barrier enough to realize we have a similar sense of humor. Today I told him how much I enjoyed my job, and that I would be perfectly happy if Leadspace was the last company I ever worked for. 

He replied, “I could run you over with a truck.”

Found when emptying old boxes. 

There’s a spot near my BART station where bike messengers gather. One guy seems to be in charge. He’s older than most, and has an ex-military bearing. We once had a nice chat in line at the adjacent coffee kiosk. I imagine one day I’ll run afoul of a messenger, and just as I’m about to get clocked with a U-lock, The General will step through the haze of pot smoke and say, “Stand down, rider. This one’s okay.”

Although I carry a camera around my neck pretty much whenever I’m outdoors, I still take photos with my iPhone, especially if I know I want to share them right away. My workflow may not suit everyone, but I’ve spent years perfecting it.

  1. Shoot the photo in the native iPhone camera app. 
  2. Run it through the Perfectly Clear app, which often does something. 
  3. Upload to Snapseed to crop and edit basic things like exposure and contrast.
  4. Use the Snapseed Transform feature, altering vertical and horizontal perspective to make it look unnatural and bad.
  5. Undo.
  6. Save to Camera Roll. Or Favorites. Or is it Moments?
  7. Upload the saved photo to the VSCO app.
  8. No, not that one. The other one.
  9. Repeat step 7.
  10. Try every filter. 
  11. Try them again.
  12. Go back to the one that looked good. 
  13. Which one looked good?
  14. Repeat steps 6 and 7.
  15. Determine that I like none of the filters and revert to the original, which now somehow seems lacking.
  16. Post to Facebook and/or Tumblr and/or  Flickr and/or my blog, based on vague and ill-defined criteria.

Give it a try!

Larry Kim shared a post recently about the value of mindfulness. The term may sound a little New Age-y, but if you get past that, it’s a very useful practice for managing stress and clearing the mind. I’m not a strict adherent (to anything, really), but I’ve found many of the principles of mindfulness beneficial. 

Writing out my thoughts in a notebook gets them out of my head and helps me recognize my positive and negative thought patterns. And when I remember something I need to do, I pull my notebook out of my shirt pocket and write it down, so I don’t need to worry I’ll forget it. (The Bullet Journal method is a simple, free and useful way to start.)

Stopping to concentrate on my body and posture tells me when I’m holding my shoulders high and tight in response to stress.

When I’m feeling overwhelmed by my to-do list, pausing to take a few deep breaths is a valuable reset and helps me get back to it with a clearer frame of mind.

Making coffee by hand (grinding the beans with a manual grinder, folding the paper filter, pouring the water into the funnel and watching it drip) feels meditative and makes me appreciate the coffee more (and avoids that awful grinding noise first thing in the morning).

I’ve found that listening to the sounds around me while riding the train or walking to and from the bus stop is calmer, simpler and less stressful than constantly messing with my iPhone, podcast app or Spotify, wrangling cords, worrying about my battery and trying to make sure everything is downloaded and ready to play offline.

The more you do it, the more you recognize the things in your life that actually provide value, and the ones that are more trouble than they’re worth.