A Few Notes From Apple’s Education Event

I followed the live stream blogs during today’s Apple Education event and took a few notes. These observations are based on reading the live blogs. I'm sure that people in the room will have more insight as the day goes on.

That New iPad

  • I'm happy to see the Apple Pencil support moving down the line. It’s pretty great, and everyone should be able to use it.
  • I think Apple still has a pricing problem. Chromebooks are in the low $200 range. The new iPad is $300, but when you add a case/keyboard $100 and an Apple Pencil ($100), a fully rigged iPad becomes nearly 2.5 times the cost of a Chromebook. When schools need to buy them by the hundreds (or thousands), that extra $300 is going to matter.
  • I think the non-pro iPad has come so far that it indicates we are going to get the iPhone X version of the iPad in June at WWDC. I'd be surprised if the rumors aren’t true about adding Face ID to iPad Pro.

Swift Playgrounds

I'm glad Apple is continuing to press forward with this app. Swift Playgrounds are fun, and I’ve done a lot of coding in there over the past few years. I consider it a puzzle game as much as a coding education. My kids never got interested, but I'm guessing a lot of kids will go nuts for the new augmented reality features.

iWork

  • The new features in iWork look interesting. They didn’t talk much about it.
  • I think collaboration is where iWork needs the most attention. I'd like to see it collaborate as easily as Google Docs and it currently doesn’t.

iCloud Storage

200GB per student is great. Hopefully, they follow suit at WWDC and announce everybody gets a free 200GB. The current free offering of 5GB, particularly in light of the cost of Apple hardware,  feels pretty cheap on Apple’s part.

Teaching Tools

The classroom tools look impressive. I’ve not got any experience with them and am looking forward to hearing from teachers about this. As I understand it, for the past few years Google has been eating Apple’s lunch on classroom tools.

iBooks

I'm currently in the home stretch of an iBooks media-rich Field Guide, and I was very anxious about iBooks Author today. It looks like I'm fine. They are bringing the ability to create books to the iPad, but it doesn’t appear iBooks Author is porting to iPad. Instead, it will be an additional feature in Pages. So long as they keep improving iBooks Author on the Mac, I'm good.

The iPad in Education

On MPU several years ago we had Fraser Speirs on, who spearheaded one of the first one-to-one iPad programs in a school. When I asked him about why they used iPads instead of a traditional computer with Microsoft Word he had a really good answer. “We’re making CEO’s, not secretaries.”

The iPad is an inherently more creative device than a traditional computer, particularly something as basic as a Chromebook. Apple made this point with the new “Everyone Can Create” curriculum. I think schools and teachers, like Fraser, that take advantage of that will be doing something special for their students.

 

Three Things You Can Do Today to Increase Your Facebook Privacy

For years I was one of those curmudgeons that refused to use Facebook in any capacity. I’ve been turned around on that a little bit because of the success of the Mac Power Users and Free Agents Facebook groups at creating a safe, fun place to talk about shared interests. They are both special communities. Nevertheless, Facebook can be a dangerous place if you care anything about your privacy.

There’s a lot of questions about Facebook lately and I’ve been receiving a lot of email from listeners on the subject. I should preface this post by saying I am hardly a Facebook power user. I log in to participate in the above two groups, but that’s about it.

Nevertheless, even this limited exposure could get me in trouble because Facebook likes to collect data. Between the news of the last few weeks plus the recent discovery that they can also collect your call and text history, I decided it was time to spend a little bit of time tuning up my own Facebook settings and thought I should share with you. So here are a few things you can do today.

1. Delete All Facebook Applications from your Phone (and iPad).

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A lot of the trouble arising from Facebook starts with their mobile applications. The trouble is that your phone has a lot of information about you and Facebook is insatiably hungry for information about you. Moreover, over the years we’ve had plenty of evidence that Facebook hasn’t been a real team player on the iPhone and they’ve done all sorts of dirty tricks to make sure their app is always front and center. This is both creepy, and it kills your battery faster.

I understand for a lot of people this is asking a lot. Their phone is their primary window into Facebook, and if that is really what you want, I don’t begrudge you. However, if you can live without Facebook on your phone, I think you’re better off. I just use Facebook in the browser on my Mac (or the browser on my iPad), and it’s just fine.

2. Audit your Privacy Settings

One thing Facebook has improved over the years is exposing its privacy settings. Years ago it felt like playing a videogame to find your way to the proper screens. Now it’s all combined in your setting screen under the privacy tab. Go through it and make changes to suit your level of comfort. I would recommend erring on the side of caution. You can always go back and make the settings more open if you’re finding that the more conservative settings are getting in the way.

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3. Audit your Application Installations

A big part of the recent problems is that the Facebook API is so liberal that apps you authorize are taking a lot more information than you may think. I have not authorized any apps to access my Facebook data and given the limited way in which I use a service; I expect I never will.

You may have some apps that you want to use with Facebook and that is fine but make sure it is your conscious decision to opt in. Take a close look at the apps tab in your Facebook settings and make sure you feel comfortable with every app you’ve authorized to access your data.

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Note there is also a setting on this screen, Apps Others Use, to edit the amount of information other people’s applications can use when accessing your Facebook data. I recommend tapping the edit button and making appropriate changes. I leave very little data exposed this way.

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Mac Power Users 423: Workflows with Jocelyn Glei

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I chat with Jocelyn Glei of the Hurry Slowly podcast in this week's episode. We talk about killing distractions, disconnecting from our devices, and getting more done by doing less.

This episode of Mac Power Users is sponsored by:

  • 1Password: Have you ever forgotten a password? Now you don't have to worry about that anymore. Save up to 20% using this link.
  • The Omni Group: We're passionate about productivity for Mac, iPhone, and iPad. 
  • Fracture: Bring your photos to life.
  • Squarespace: Make your next move. Enter offer code MPU at checkout to get 10% off your first purchase.

Carrot Weather 4.6

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I’ve written about Carrot Weather in the past. It’s the weather app with a snarky attitude. Today they released version 4.6 that adds notifications on the iPhone, new app icons, and a bunch of new dialogue.

It’s been several years since I first wrote about Carrot Weather and it still remains my favorite weather app. Sometimes I’ll turn off its legendary snark entirely for months at a time and it still remains a great weather app. I'm particularly impressed with changes in the last year. Both the today view screen and Apple Watch apps are some of the best in class.

Free Agents 43: Don’t Ask Us Permission

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I attended a conference and was asked for advice (or was it permission?) from many potential free agents. When I got home, my professional life was in disarray. What are the lessons to take from that? To find out, listen to the latest episode. Also, Jason ponders putting more effort into video, and I continue down the path of hyperscheduling.

This episode of Free Agents is sponsored by:

  • Squarespace: Make your next move. Enter offer code FREEAGENTS at checkout to get 10% off your first purchase.
  • Freshbooks: Online invoicing made easy.

The Trello iOS Update

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Over the past year, Trello has become one of the key apps/services of my operations. It's the place that I manage all work I've sent to others and is an excellent tool for teams and collaborators. I'm going to write up in detail exactly how I use Trello in the future but a simple explanation is that I've templated all the typical projects I send to my helpers and use Trello to assign the work and keep track of its progress.

If I had one gripe against Trello its that it has always felt, nearly exclusively, like a web app. There are versions of the app for iOS and Mac but they have always been pretty rough around the edges. I'd say that's still true for the Mac app but yesterday they released an impressive update for their iOS app.

New features include: custom fields such as dates and text, drop-down lists, and checkboxes, a better date selector, better linking throughout, the ability to add more than one attachment at a time (hallelujah!).

I use attachments often with Trello. If I'm having someone work on a document for me, I'll attach the document to the Trello card rather than emailing separately. The best new feature is the support for drag and drop, including attachments onto a card.

I'm happy to see Trello taking advantage the iOS platform features. I hope they put a similar amount of effort into the Mac app.

Mac Power Users 422: Low Power Mode: It Isn't Just for Phones

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In the latest episode, we talk about home security systems, the OmniFocus 3 beta, my new love of paper, the HomePod, our favorite non-tech productivity hacks, and more. We also tackle listener questions and share tech we're playing with.

This episode of Mac Power Users is sponsored by:

  • PDFpen from Smile: With powerful PDF editing tools available for Mac, iPad, and iPhone, PDFpen from Smile makes you a Mac Power User.
  • Sandbox: Stop drowning in email!
  • Fracture: Bring your photos to life.
  • Eero: Never think about WiFi again. Use code MPU for free overnight shipping.

Hyper-Scheduling Feedback 

I’ve had a lot of feedback about my prior posts about the hyper-scheduling experiment and implementation details. Here are the prior links:

The Hyper-Scheduling Experiment

Hyper-Scheduling Mechanics

This whole thing has turned into a short series here at MacSparky.com. There may be another post or two about this, but today I'd like to share some of the feedback. I’ve received a surprising amount of email/tweets/feedback on these posts. They fall into several categories:

Hyper-Scheduling is Insane

I recently spoke at the ABA Techshow, and at some point an old lawyer-nerd friend cornered me. “David, are you really doing all that crazy stuff with your schedule?” (That quote is nearly perfect. He didn’t use the word “stuff”.)

This sentiment boils down to a lot of people who have never tried something like this marvelling at what an extraordinary investment of time hyper-scheduling appears to be.

I agree putting something like this in place takes time, particularly when getting the habit started. However, having been doing it now for awhile, the time investment is not nearly high as someone who has never tried it would think. I schedule each day and the end of the day prior. Using the mechanics I explained in the last post, most of the scheduling is simply selecting prior instances in the calendar week view, duplicating the item, and then moving it into place. For me, most days start with some Field Guide Work for two or three hours and most days end with shutting things down and planning the next day and in between comes a whole lot of legal work and podcasting that varies on a daily basis.

A key competent of all of this is having a task management system that can help you keep track of all of your tasks (so you don’t have to) and unearth those priority tasks out of the database on a daily basis. I’m pretty adept at OmniFocus so it usually doesn’t take me long to find those tasks that will get checked off the day before and assign appropriate time blocks to get the job done.

For me, the trickiest part about setting it up is being realistic about how much can be accomplished in the next day and not biting off more than I can chew. The practice of hyper-scheduling however, has provided an excellent tool for me to get better at that skill. At this point, hyper-scheduling takes me about 20 minutes. As explained throughout this series of posts, a 20-minute daily investment for all of these benefits is a no-brainer.

Hyper-Scheduling is Unrealistic

No plan survives contact with the enemy.

–Helmuth von Moltke

This second category of criticism boils down to the above quote. It doesn’t matter how much time you spend scheduling if you walk into the office to find it on fire. I’d generally agree with that criticism. Several times since I’ve started hyper-scheduling, I’ve had days where a true client or family emergency appeared requiring me to sweep aside my carefully laid plans and spend the day manning the fire hose.

I guess the real question for these critics is exactly how often do they find that the office is actually on fire. If that’s a routine thing, I think that is more of a problem with the office than hyper-scheduling. The lawyer equivalent of a fireman is a litigation attorney. I was in that racket for 20 years and can tell you at the time I experienced a lot more fires than I do these days. If you have a job that requires you to put out fires on a daily basis (and you’re okay with that), I don’t think hyper-scheduling is for you.

Conversely, however, I’d ask you to make sure the there truly is a fire. As my law practice has transitioned to a transaction-heavy practice and away from the sausage factory that is modern litigation, before hyper-scheduling I was acting like there were daily wild fires where, in hindsight, there were very few. Too often I’d let the smallest problems derail me. Hyper-scheduling has given me more perspective so that a lot of things that I was earlier treating as four-alarm fires now just gets blocked into some time in the next few days and I’m able to stick with the original plan.

Hyper-Scheduling is Nothing More than Sophisticated Procrastination

One reader wrote me and opined that my hyper-scheduling seemed like re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. The argument is that Hyper-scheduling is a way to fiddle, instead of doing work. I think this could be true if you were too precious with your scheduling. The minimum block of time for me to deal with a specific problem is usually no less than an hour. I don’t Hyper-Schedule by making a dozen 15-minute project blocks that I then carefully arrange like a jigsaw puzzle. That would be a waste of time. All of the little, important things I do every day get OmniFocus flags and lumped together in the “Capture Flags” block. I agree someone could implement hyper-scheduling in a way that gets too fiddly. However, I think someone that gives it the smallest amount of thought and deliberation could avoid that trap.

Hyper-Scheduling Doesn’t Actually Give You any Additional Time

Yup.

This was my own biggest source of resistance to the experiment in the first place. Scheduling myself for ten hours a day does not magically give me 20 hours of work. It’s still just 10 hours. While that is true, adding the planning and deliberation to the day has allowed me to get a lot closer to 10 hours of work done in a 10 hour day where before I was getting more like five or six hours of work done in a 10 hour day because I spent so much time blowing in the wind.

For me, Hyper-Scheduling adds a sense of purpose to the day and lets me be much more deliberate with my time and the projects I spend my time on. Either way, while it’s true this technique doesn’t magically give you additional time, it lets you use the time you do spend on important work much more efficiently.

Hyper-Scheduling is Nothing New

These are my favorite emails. I’ve received lots of affirmation from readers that have been doing this in some form or another for years and ask me, in one way or another, “What took you so long?” Some folks call it block scheduling, others call it fancier things like value-based time management. I'm certainly not the first guy to this party, and I find that comforting.

Script Debugger 7

If you spend any time writing AppleScripts, you’re going to want Script Debugger. Script Debugger is the development tools the real power AppleScript users employ and it’s now up to version 7. It has a pile of tools not available in the native Script editor including a much better dictionary, better debugging, code completion, split pane editing, customization and more. 

I know AppleScript is a fairly niche thing these days but if you want to get better at it, this is the tool for you.

MAC POWER USERS 421: Business Workflows

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In this episode, we share our favorite business workflows including managing email, calendaring, TextExpander tips, reducing paper, managing PDFs, billing, communicating and more.

This episode of Mac Power Users is sponsored by:

  • Squarespace: Make your next move. Enter offer code MPU at checkout to get 10% off your first purchase.
  • 1Password: Have you ever forgotten a password? Now you don't have to worry about that anymore. Save up to 20% using this link.
  • The Omni Group: We're passionate about productivity for Mac, iPhone, and iPad. 
  • Fujitsu ScanSnap: ScanSnap helps you live a more productive, efficient, and paperless life.

On Focus

Last year I noticed my priorities were out of whack and I spent several months woodshedding the latest productivity books and websites as I sorted myself out. One prevalent theme throughout the productivity world as of late is how to keep yourself focused. Keeping yourself on target is an important skill. Cal Newport wrote a good book about it and Shawn Blanc developed an entire online course around it. 

Luckily, this is one of the few things I’m good at. I’m not sure if I’m a focus savant or it’s just a side benefit of having a regular meditation practice for over 25 years but I’m good at locking in on one thing to the exclusion of the rest of the world. There are actually some pretty funny stories about me growing up and being completely oblivious to the world around me as I read a book or was dialed in on something else. 

Regardless, people are having a lot of trouble keeping their attention on a single task with all of these digital devices surrounding us. There is a whole cottage industry of apps that can do things like dim sections of your screen, hide your social media apps, and even turn off your internet connection requiring heroic efforts to get it back up and running all in effort to avoid distractions. My daughter routinely deletes social media apps entirely from her phone when she is working on a deadline. 

A lot of people are going to some extreme measures in the name of focus and I’m not sure that is necessary or, in the long term, sustainable. It’s like trying to lose weight by not eating. It may work for a day or two but after that, it’s all downhill. Getting better at focus is difficult and it takes time to master. Here’s my list of suggestions for some help along the way. 

Set Your Non-Essential Technology Aside

If you’re working on your Mac or iPad, just put your phone down with the glass on the table. When you get tempted to pick it up, you’ll see it is face down and remind yourself how much more fun Alto’s Odyssey will be after you finish your sales report/spreadsheet/term paper/whatever. Alternatively, put you tech in another room.

Banish Notifications

Nearly everyone, myself included, has let notification bloat creep into their lives. The first time you launch just about any new app, it asks for permission to tap you on the shoulder at will and you, in a fit of optimism, will think to yourself that “This garbage truck simulator app is the one. This is the app that will change my life and of course it should get notification privileges”. You’ll tap the button and then put up with needless notifications from that app forever. I made a video about notifications that show you how to fix that. 

I suggest a notification purge. Why not try turning off all notifications on your phone? It’s not that hard (although I wish Apple would make it easier). Just turn off all notifications and live like that for a day or two and then only add back notifications for the apps from which you absolutely must get notifications. This clean slate approach is exactly the way I reduced the number of daily notifications from about 40 to about 5.

Use Calendars and Timers

The whole hyper-scheduling thing I’ve been writing about is in part my own effort to keep focused on the important stuff. In my case, it is more about the areas of focus than the ability to focus but it’s a similar problem. Blocking time on your calendar or setting a timer is a great way to focus in bite-sized increments. It’s the entire idea behind the Pomodoro Technique. I do think giving yourself a timed focus period is a good way into tricking your brain into getting better at this. Telling yourself to just focus for X minutes makes the lure of all those shiny technology interruptions bearable. Start with as short of an interval you need to succeed and then start moving it up slowly.

The “Not Now” Folder

Make a folder on your iPhone called “Not Now”. Put apps in there that are your frequent temptations. For some people, it will be Facebook. For others, it may be Twitter or even Email. Make opening the “Not Now” a deliberate act that you do only when you are not focused in on getting some work done. If you really want to go nuts, put the “Not Now” folder on page three of your home screen to really keep it out of mind.

Consider Trying a Little Meditation

It’s really not hippie nonsense. A mindfulness meditation practice is not a religion. It’s just a way to help you tame that wild organ between your ears and anyone can do it. You can learn more with an app, like Headspace or through a good podcast. It’s a great way to work on your focus muscles. And speaking of focus muscles ...

Think About Developing your Focus like Developing Muscles

It does take practice and time. Even if you take a pass on meditation, try to focus on what you are doing other times during the day. It’s easy to do that while you are mountain climbing or surfing but what about when you are driving, or eating an apple? Can you keep your brain on target then? You need to wear new grooves into your brain and that doesn’t happen overnight.

Don’t Be So Hard on Yourself

There are so many articles on the Internet by people dealing with the focus problem that are beating themselves up about it. That just gets in the way. We have more distractions thrown at us these days than any time before in human history. We’ve all got to come to grips with it and it’s hard. Don’t be so hard on yourself. If you occasionally fall off the wagon, don’t get angry. Just get back on the wagon and keep trying.

Free Agents 42 — Learning Your Creative Rhythms, with Shawn Blanc

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In this episode, we go through the Free Agents mailbag with observations about the legend of the man who outsourced his own job, taking a hobby to the next level, and the menace of imposter syndrome. Then we welcome our guest, Shawn Blanc, creator of The Sweet Setup and shawnblanc.net, to discuss building an independent business with collaborators, solid project planning, and sensible work hours.

This episode of Free Agents is sponsored by:

  • Squarespace: Make your next move. Enter offer code FREEAGENTS at checkout to get 10% off your first purchase.
  • Casper: The Internet’s favourite mattress. Get $50 off select mattresses with the code ‘FREEAGENTS’.
  • Freshbooks: Online invoicing made easy.

Task Management Pain Points – Orphans

One area of trouble for anyone with a lot of projects is orphans. Those are those projects or tasks that somehow fall off the radar and fall apart not because you are actively ignoring them or prioritizing them as “on hold” but instead because you forget about them. An orphan may be unimportant but it may also be mission critical. Ignore them at your peril.

If you follow GTD, you should not have many orphans because the system requires you to review all your projects on a weekly basis. While I use elements of GTD in my planning, I don’t adopt the system entirely and I don’t review all my projects weekly. Instead, I use the OmniFocus review feature to set custom review times depending on a project’s priority. If I’m working with a client on a big contract, I’ll get a review reminder every week. If I’m just maintaining a corporate book for a client, I’ll only get a review reminder every six months. Although my longer delayed project reviews could cause me a problem, I’m pretty good about starting new projects for anything that requires a more frequent review frequency. Another thing I do while reviewing projects in OmniFocus is assessing the project’s current review frequency and consider whether it needs adjusting.

OmniFocus is the only task app I’m aware of that includes a review mechanism but you could put something similar together yourself in other apps. Just add a task inside projects called something like “Review Status” and set it to repeat at some reasonable frequency.

There also isn’t anything wrong with just taking a few hours every month or two and doing a top-to-bottom audit of your task system. This even works for the paper and pencil crowd. Every time I do one of those audits, I feel better afterward. Moreover, during audits I sometimes do find an orphan lurking in my system and, even better, a few projects I can kill. 

iOS 12 Concepts

Last week, 9to5Mac Linked the iOS 12 concepts from Behance.net. While I’m not usually very interested in these alternate reality concepts, I do like a few of their ideas.

Nameless Apps

They mocked up a home screen with no app names, and it looked so much better than a home screen with app names. When is the last time you actually read the name of an app on your home screen? I honestly can’t remember ever doing so.

Information Dense Lock Screen

I also like their mock-up of a lock screen that lets you pull down for weather, although I’d let the user decide which today view information a pull-down gets you. (I’d probably use it for OmniFocus or Fantastical.) Of course, there would be security concerns, but it could be user choice like other lock screen information.

June and WWDC (the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference) isn’t far away, but I wouldn’t hold my breath for Apple doing either of these things.

Solve your Email Problems with SaneBox - Sponsor

This week’s sponsor, SaneBox is the solution to so many of my email problems. SaneBox is the email service that adds a pile of productivity features to your email, regardless of what email client you use. For a lot of folks, email is a constant pain point, and it doesn’t need to be. With SaneBox at your back, you can:

  • Wake up every day to find the SaneBox robots have automatically sorted your incoming email for you so you can address the important and ignore the irrelevant. 
  • Defer email for hours, days, or weeks, so it is out of your life until a more appropriate time. They’ve even added a new feature that can optionally auto-reply to snoozed email with something like, “I’m sorry, but I'm underwater right now. I’ll get back to you in a few days.”
  • Set secret reminders so if someone doesn’t reply to an important email SaneBox gives you a nudge to follow up.
  • Automatically save attachments to the cloud (like Dropbox).
  • Use their SaneForward service to automatically send appropriate emails to services like Evernote, Expensify, and Kayak.
  • Move unwanted email to the SaneBlackHole and never see anything from that person again.

The list goes on, and MacSparky readers love this service. I was just speaking with the folks at SaneBox, and they report that 70% of the MacSparky readers that try SaneBox end up signing up for it. That’s crazy but not surprising to me because SaneBox works. Why not straighten out your email by getting a SaneBox account and bringing a gun to a knife fight. If you sign up with this link, you even get a discount on your subscription. 

Mac Power Users 420: Presentation Workflows

Presentations are on our mind on this week's episode as we prepare for talks at ABA (American Bar Association) TECHSHOW. We discuss workflows for planning a presentation, tips for making your slides, getting ready for the big day, dealing with nerves, and making sure your presentation goes off without a hitch.

This episode of Mac Power Users is sponsored by:

  • Casper: The internet’s favorite mattress. Get $50 off select mattresses with the code ‘MPU’.
  • Timing: The automatic time-tracking app for macOS. Use this link to save 10% on your purchase.
  • TextExpander from Smile: Type more with less effort! Expand short abbreviations into longer bits of text, even fill-ins, with TextExpander from Smile.
  • 1Password: Have you ever forgotten a password? Now you don't have to worry about that anymore. Save up to 20% using this link.

Hyper-Scheduling Mechanics

Last week I wrote about my anal-retentive hyper-scheduling method and got a lot of surprisingly positive feedback. One of the most popular questions was how exactly do I implement it. It's not that difficult. The night before, I take a look at my appointments and essential tasks are for the next day and start laying things out. Whether I am on my iPad or my Mac, I do this in Fantastical. A lot of times I'm using blocks that I recently used in the past few days, so I set it up in a week view, select the applicable block, such as "Email and Social" (which is the 45 minutes or so where I deal with all of my email and check in on social media), hit the keyboard shortcut command (Command + D) to duplicate, and then drag the block into the appropriate space. You can do the same thing on an iPad with a long press, but it feels like it takes longer and setting the duplicated block to the next day with your fingers is less precise than doing so with the mouse.

Here is yesterday's calendar in Fantastical. I usualy include more detail, like client names, but those were removed for this screenshot. Click to enlarge.

I treat the blocks of time more like versatile soup ingredients than a rigid jigsaw puzzle, so I am happy to move them around as I'm planning the next day. The only things that are locked in are the specific appointments I have made with other people. I know some folks who have done this by creating repeating events where they have the same block of time for the same event every day. My life isn't that simple, and these blocks nearly always move around depending on what I have on deck for the next day. Setting these as repeating events won't work for me, but maybe they can work for you.

I map days out the afternoon before and it is an organic process because the whole time I'm also looking at my pile of tasks in OmniFocus and trying to make big boy decisions about what exactly gets my attention the next day. At the end of this process, I have a pretty solid looking calendar for the next day. I set alarms for the block events that start at the time of the event, so I get a little kick as I go through the day and need to change into the next block. The Siri watch face on my Apple Watch helps with this.

The last part of my process, and this is new in 2018, is writing it down with a fancy pen in my Baron Fig Confidant dot grid plus-sized notebook. I have a page for every day, and at the top is a list of events and big rock tasks to finish for the next day. I keep it open on my desk as I work. Writing it down takes additional time but only a few minutes, and there is something about having it written down in ink in front of me as I work through the day that keeps me rolling. I received some very satisfying affirmation on this last bit when I saw that Shawn Blanc does the same thing.

Underneath this section of the page I draw a line and below that I take notes and summarize progress at the end of the day. Like I said in the last post. The whole shutdown thing is a post for another day. Here's a picture of my list for yesterday. At the time I took the picture, I still had one event and one task left to complete. Sorry about my terrible printing. If I'd thought about it when I set up this day, I would have tried to make it neater. Click to enlarge.