An Inventory of My Thoughts


I’m no Myron Helfgott, but I’ve made a few minor changes to my life which have been at least semi-interesting. It’s not about productivity. It’s more about eliminating distractions that have wormed their way into my head. These reflexive actions are scary because they eat into the way you think or in some cases if you think at all. Nothing magical here but it’s often worth looking at how things1 are impacting your life.

The drive to work is now silent. No radio. No podcasts. I just let my brain wander. It’s fun. The ride home is much noisier.

On my phone I turned off all the notifications for email, Twitter, and Flickr. The only one that remains is for texts. It has surprised me how much happier I am not to see that envelope with the red badge letting me know how many emails I’ve yet to read. I can still do whatever I need should something important arise but I’ve cut the visual cue out of the equation. That has cut down on reflexive checking. Flickr and Twitter were never that busy but neither was important enough to require an instant alert.

This has been done by many people, many times but I’m leaving my email program closed 95% of the day. It’s been depressing to see how often I command+tab to go to email without really thinking. With the program closed I can’t jump into it without making a more conscious decision. It seems I’ve been using email as an escape from other more important and useful work.

On the blog, I took what Audrey said here to heart. I’d been using WP Stats via JetPack and would often look at that stuff because it was on the dashboard. I’m clearly not paid to write anything here and I don’t have any ads so there was no real purpose for stats.

I also found that as I try to write more things that deal with code the sidebar on my previous theme cost me valuable real estate without proving much benefit. So I’m now running a child-theme of the Flat Bootstrap theme. Step one in ditching the sidebar was just to search the parent them for anything that had , duplicate those files to the child-theme and then remove the reference. I then changed the main-content width to “content-area col-md-12”. If I recall correctly it was col-md-8 previously.2 I may need to split the difference with col-md-10 but I’m fine with figuring stuff like this out live.

The theme is clearly stripped down at the moment. I figured it’d be interesting to build up as I find needs rather than starting with lots of choices made by someone else and then adding even more like I normally do.3

One little example is formatting my weekly Diigo link post. It still needs some work but I think the changes take the format towards simplicity and readability. Pre/Post views of the post are below as is the CSS that created the new look.

Diigo Post Screenshot - Pre CSSDiigo Post Screenshot Post-CSS

 /* Gets rid of the bullets */
ul.diigo-linkroll {
        list-style-type: none;

/* hides the tags entirely */
p.diigo-tags {

/* does the gray borders on the left and bottom- probably needs some padding to make it feel less entwined */
.diigo-linkroll li {
    border-left: 1px solid lightgray;
    border-bottom: 1px solid lightgray;

1 Not just digital things, but people, chairs, books, my stupid pillow etc.

2 That’s Bootstrap talk.

3 Somewhere down the line is a from scratch theme. Might as well follow some of these thoughts to their logical conclusion.

Comments on this post

  1. CogDog said on March 23, 2015 at 1:41 pm

    The new minimalism. I’m curious enough to try reducing notifications but think it might be more of test just to ignore them or be more judicious in checking. Notifications don’t force me to give them attention, it’s my choice.

    Interestingly I ran my site through the tracker gizmo and did not see any tracking dings for wp-stats. Not sure how they do it. Vimeo embeds add like 4. I’m not ready to give up media embeds.

    • Tom said on March 23, 2015 at 2:44 pm

      No doubt ignoring the notifications would be more of a test. It’s more that they made me anxious. It may be I’m still detoxing from having to be on call in my previous job.

      Although it’s not cool to say I’m not so much worried about privacy for people. I just thought I’d do it and see if it matters.

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