Productivity review of the first half of 2020

Makzan’s Dispatch 2020 week 26

Hi friend,

We are now 50% of 2020. 

Let me review my productivity tools in the first half of 2020. I discovered Roam Research in February. Then I learned the power of bi-directional linking. And I implemented it into my MZHub notes system.

I built MZFocus in March to better organize my daily focus sessions. It syncs with my calendar. MZFocus gives me two useful views: week view and month view. In week view, I have a big picture of how I shall focus on the week. In month view, I can look back to see how much I have done and review the categories to see if I’m giving enough time to my higher importance projects.

I also started using as my email imbox. That’s not a typo. They called it “Imbox” that stands for “Important Inbox”. Hey gives email processing a new approach to save time and make working with emails delightful again.

Lately, I’m reading the preview edition of the book “Mind Management, not Time Management”. It aligns with my productivity strategy that attention management is more important than time management. Our mind, our focus, our attention decides if we are moving in the right direction. The book goes further by stating that squeezing time is not the optimal case for productivity. Using all the time doesn’t necessarily mean moving forward. The preview edition contains only part of the book with unedited content. But still, it is already mind-blowing just by reading chapter 1. Highly recommended. 

Looking forward to the 3rd quarter:

I just started re-organizing my teaching notes into the freemium model. My first course is Beginning JAMStack with Eleventy and Netlify. The second course is Beginning Python Programming. The course materials and lesson notes are in Creative Common license hosting on Github and Netlify. Then I will record the screencasts of the course and put them up and sell them on Teachable. 

I’m also planning on a new course code-named “Things Productivity”. Things app to me is more than a daily task management tool. It is also my life goals tracker, annual goals list, and my backlogs of may-be tasks and ideas bin.

Links worth sharing

Code Notes gatsby theme for code-snippets and notes

I used this theme and created my code snippet site: I shared my daily learned CSS, JavaScript, and Python code snippets.

An accessibility statistics on video captions

Grid for layout, Flexbox for components

Hardcoded secrets, unverified tokens, and other common JWT mistakes

The little stuff you might have missed in WWDC

Several takeaways:

  • “You can run shortcuts by time of day with no confirmation needed.”

  • “FaceTime can now recognize when someone is using sign language and make them prominent in a group call.”

  • “The mysterious U1 chip found in the iPhone 11 line is finally starting to be put to use, and developers can take advantage of it through the new Nearby Interaction framework.”

  • “Apple is officially dropping support for Force Touch in watchOS 7, following the pattern set by dropping 3D Touch in the latest iPhones.”

One major reason I haven’t updated to latest iPhone is the lack of 3D Touch. It is very convenient in iPhone with 3D touch to apply force anywhere on the keyboard to move the cursor. In the latest iPhone, this can only be done by long-pressing the tiny space bar. It makes moving the cursor down almost impossible, giving the space bar is already located at the bottom edge of the screen.

The end of OS X

The next macOS is going to be version 11.0. Goodbye macOS X.


Recently I switched to this bookmark tool to store my bookmarks. There are page previews for all my bookmarks. I can organize links in folders and tags. They are just like files in the operating system.

Until next week,
Thomas Mak