Mind Nodes - A World Without Email

Mind Nodes Newsletter Mar 14, 2021

Hey there,

I'm Eric Gregorich. Mind Nodes is a weekly newsletter where I share my latest posts and interesting articles, videos, and other content that I discover throughout the week.

Thank you for being here. If you enjoy the newsletter, please share it with a friend. And if someone forwarded this email to you, subscribe here.


// This Weeks Updates

Website Changes

This week I've been making some big changes to by note-taking (Zettelkasten) system. This includes taking down my public digital garden hosted on Obsidian Publish (maybe temporary). The reason for this is because I had two systems, one public and one private. It was becoming too difficult to manage both separately. Besides, I really enjoy the workflow I have for my private notes, but that does not play well with Obsidian Publish. So, for now, I'm going to focus on one note-taking system and publishing content to my main website ericgregorich.com.

Newsletter Changes

Since this newsletter is very new, I'm still playing around to make it efficient for me to create and pleasant for you to read. I started to create a more visual newsletter with images, sections, and snazzy features. But realized quickly that Gmail and other email services tend to send this type of format straight to Junk mail or to the Promotions tab. So instead, I'm trying to keep it as simple text. Please reply with any feedback or suggestions!

I'm also keeping the newsletter on Ghost for now. If you subscribe on my main website, you'll receive these newsletters each week by email. But you can also view them directly on the website.

Tournament Champs!!

My daughter plays fast-pitch softball, and this weekend, they won their first tournament of the season!

A World Without Email by Cal Newport

I just finished reading A World Without Email by Cal Newport. The book explains how email (including Slack, Microsoft Teams, and other messaging services) became popular and why it destroys our productivity. Sending email made it so easy to quickly send messages and tasks to others that, before we realized it, we're spending all of our time on our email applications.

Cal calls the type of workflow these tools produce the "hyperactive hive mind." This is when we center our workflow around ongoing conversations. We're constantly monitoring these inboxes to continue the conversation. We can no longer focus on our primary work, or our work becomes dependent on this constant communication.

The book provides several examples to help solve this problem. Primarily, we need to determine what processes are being handled in email and move those workflows into appropriate tools, such as a ticketing system or Kanban board. There is also the old fashion method of communication, talking to someone face-to-face (or over your preferred video communication tool).

When dealing with Knowledge Work, an individual should determine how they want to execute a task. However, the workflow process itself should be controlled by the team. Move the process into a Kanban board or other project/task management solution, schedule daily status meetings, create space for people to do their work without interruptions. Those are some examples of things we can do to focus on getting our real work done, rather than spending time managing distracting ping-pong communication.

Overall, this was a decent book. It is a very important topic and hopefully the book will likely hold up well over time. The content was well researched. Cal Newport is also known for similar material from his previous books, Deep Work and Digital Minimalism. If you are already familiar with Agile methodologies, and if you're a productivity nerd, you may not get much out of this book. The key message is to extract the processes from communication tools into more appropriate workflow management tools.


// Most Popular This Week


// This Weeks Top Reads

The fallacy of “what gets measured gets managed”

by Ness Labs

We often hear the saying "What gets measured gets managed". In this article, Anne-Laure talks about why measuring is not always a good thing.

--> Read the article

Collaborative Development for PowerApps Canvas Apps

By Mehdi Slaoui Andaloussi

This blog post provides great examples using shared components in Power Apps to allow a team to work on the same Power App at the same time.

--> Read the article

The Microwave Economy

By David Perell

David talks about how we use our wealth to make the world cheaper and functional rather than more beautiful and meaningful.

--> Read the article


// Microsoft News

Suppose you want to keep up to date with Microsoft News, good luck! There is so much news around Microsoft apps and services that it seems impossible to keep up. Here is what I do, and you can use it as well (for free). Subscribe to this daily digest that I created on MailBrew. You'll receive an email every weekday containing Microsoft Roadmap updates, news, videos, and even the most popular tweets. This is not an ad or promotion, rather a simple tool I use that I think you may find helpful as well.

--> Subscribe To Microsoft Daily Digest


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Eric Gregorich

I am a Solution Architect designing and building solutions that help people and businesses be more productive.

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