HACK / MAKE

Purposeful and Passionate Work

Patrick Rhone has recently been getting deeper into talking about work. Not work/life balance or doing better work, but he proposes that we look at everything we do as ‘work’ like they do at his daughter’s preschool:

In a Montessori environment, any purposeful activity is described as work. For instance, cutting up bananas to have as a snack is referred to as “banana work” or learning math skills by counting beads is referred to as “bead work”.

If you think seriously about living your life deliberately by aligning what you do and who you are1, this idea of anything we do is work makes a lot of sense. Why is it that we work hard to impress people at work but then decide we can be an asshole to the person in front of us at the line in the grocery store? Is it because we think our work has more weight in what we believe will make us a success? What if we work towards treating the people outside of work as if they were the ones who would be doing our performance evaluations and giving us raises? Where we are should not change how passionately we do our life work.2

Finding work you love won’t necessarily make life easier if you end up passionately consumed:

Not everyone is cut out for it. It takes not only a passion for the work but plenty of sacrifice. It means there will be no paid vacations or retirement fund matching or group healthcare plan. It means years of saving and planning and struggling and scrapping. But you will know, in those tough years, if it is for you. Because those struggles will not deter you — they will fuel you. Because, that is all part of the work too.

Anything that has purpose is work but just calling everything by that name doesn’t change the fact that some things will be truly hard work. The hard work will trash your system. It’ll make sure everything that was running smooth won’t. It’ll keep you awake at night, sometimes in excitement, often in fear. But it’s the work you’ve set out to do and fighting is part of it. The decision to live a deliberate and driven life filled with good work will consume you. It’s not just working hard 9-5 anymore because your grocery work, your commute work, your talk work, your love work, and your life work, they require you to be present and working hard.

Are you ready to be passionately consumed?


  1. There’s a lot of Zen stuff in here about a life that is not dualistic, but, to be honest, I still haven’t figured out a way to bring up ideas taught in Zen Buddhism without sounding hokey. 

  2. Life work not being equal or opposed to our life’s work

Everything Takes Care of Itself

I’ve been reading On the Road by Jack Kerouac and came across a couple sentences that caught my attention. As Dean, Sal, and Marylou drive west from New Orleans, Sal’s mind wanders through memories of his cavalier adventures. Sal (an autobiographical portrayal of Kerouac himself) goes on narrating that if it weren’t for his failing memory, he’d be able to recount those tales in more detail:

Ah, but we know time. Everything takes care of itself. I could close my eyes and this old car would take care of itself.

It’s both freeing and excruciating that everything will eventually take care of itself. I think the scary parts come in knowing that the inevitable isn’t a constant. If Sal closed his eyes, the inevitable could find that old car in a ditch. With his eyes open, the same could happen but most likely they would get to San Francisco safely.

We tend to battle with the inevitable. Without realizing that we aren’t in full control of it nor are completely removed from having an impact on how things end up, we drive our lives. If you close your eyes, your life will take care of itself. If you map out your life’s details, a different inevitable may—but by no guarantee—happen.

Every morning we have the option to shift the odds of what’s inevitable to something greater. No action or direction will be sure to happen. No level of control will stop bad things from eclipsing you or create every opportunity you hope for. But I believe we can lead what’s around us to take better care of itself. The great things we create, the people in our lives we care for, and the push we make to endure when we aren’t at our best helps build a place so that when “everything takes care of itself”, we can feel a little more comfortable that the care we invested will take care of us.

Batch Capture OmniFocus Tasks with Drafts

I’ve often been asked and been curious myself about a simple and fluid way to get a list of tasks into OmniFocus on iOS. There have been some hacks using Pythonista and I’ve come very close to setting up a system with my Mac mini server to grab a text list, parse it out, and add it to OmniFocus using Applescript. But with a major assist from James Gowans comes a pretty straightforward way using Drafts 3.0’s new “List in Reminders” action.

This new action will list out the lines of your drafts as line items in Reminders and thanks to OmniFocus’s support for importing tasks from Reminders you can go from Drafts to OmniFocus in one tap.

The basic support in Drafts for “List in Reminders” dumps your draft straight into Reminders without even leaving the app. That’s smooth if you want your items to stay in Reminders but we want to trigger OmniFocus to scoop up the tasks so they don’t get left in between.

The trick to this is to “Allow URLs to trigger actions” in the Drafts settings. This means that Drafts can call it’s own actions in addition to the x-success callback function. Once everything is sent to Reminders, OmniFocus will open and grab all the new items.

Once you’ve set Drafts to allow URLs to trigger actions and have turned on Reminders Capture in OmniFocus, add this URL action to Drafts:

drafts://x-callback-url/create?text=[[draft]]&action=List%20in%20Reminders&x-success=omnifocus://

Selecting this action on your draft will send each line to Reminders, then switch to the OmniFocus app which imports each task into the inbox. I can’t find a way to deep-link into the Inbox view so you will be switched to wherever you last were in the app but you can be sure that your tasks were imported. If you know how to link into the OmniFocus inbox, please let me know. Unfortunately, contexts and projects still aren’t supported through the URL scheme but just look at what your amazing pocket computer can do.