A Year without Credit Cards

Are they really an indispensable part of modern life?

“I’m playing grown-up!” As a ten-year-old, I didn’t understand why that got my parents’ attention so completely.

In my back pocket, I was carrying around a thick, old wallet I had found in the attic. It was full of credit cards. All different kinds. Very colorful. It hadn’t crossed my mind to do anything with them yet; I was just walking around the house with my chest puffed out.

As a kid, you don’t understand what all is going on behind a credit card transaction. They can seem like a magical key. Toys, groceries, restaurants, vacations… the world is in the palm of your hand, and it measures 3.370 x 2.125 inches.

We’ve heard people recommend foregoing credit cards and sticking to debit cards and cash, but what would it be like to actually do it? Would you really spend less? Rather than dismiss the idea as too weird, my wife and I gave it a shot.

Photo courtesy of ©Shutterstock/Nomad_Soul

First, have a definite, clear practical ideal; a goal, an objective. Second, have the necessary means to achieve your ends; wisdom, money, materials, and methods. Third, adjust all your means to that end.


Removing Browser Tab Clutter

Surfing the web is like any other task—clean up when you’re done.

Right now, I have sixteen browser tabs open, just on this computer. This includes:

  • two tabs showing my Gmail inbox
  • two tabs comparison-shopping golf clubs
  • three tabs where I’m comparing options for golf lessons
  • two websites for golf courses I’m thinking of playing soon
  • five tabs with articles I brought up in the background so I could read them later
  • a post I wrote a couple weeks ago (I needed to fix a typo)

I could go on.

I’ve only used one of those tabs in the past three days.

I also have ten tabs open on my iPhone and eight on my iPad. Stuff to read. Stuff to buy. Stuff to consider buying. Videos to watch.

Everything falls into one of two categories. Each tab is either something I need to do, or something I’ve done but haven’t cleaned up after. It’s disorganized. It’s clutter. It’s not a good way to get anything done.

Linking to Mail Messages

When I was transitioning to digital planning, one of the pivotal moments was when I realized that I didn’t need to find one app that did everything—including syncing. I could focus on finding the apps that worked best for me for tasks, appointments, and daily notes, and let each play to their strengths.

I’ve written before on how to tie OmniFocus and Evernote together. By adding links to the tasks and project support notes, you can quickly jump back and forth. I’ve also found it useful to add links to relevant email messages. This keeps the email in Mail, and I can get to it from the relevant task and project, whether I’m on my phone, iPad, or Mac.

By integrating links to the right email messages, you can more easily get your Inbox to Zero, be more effective in your communication, and relax, knowing that the information will still be available when and where you need it.

Photo courtesy of ©Shutterstock/Gajus

How to Enjoy the Second Half of the Super Bowl

Three quick questions to put any situation in perspective

Talk about your planning fails!

Due to unintentional scheduling (neither one of us thought to check what time the game started), we showed up to a Super Bowl party at halftime. Whoops.

It’s the biggest event of the football season. It’s possibly the only thing that I tune in to intending to watch the commercials. And we’d missed the pregame show, the kickoff, and half the game. I wasn’t happy.

In the grand scheme of things, missing half a football game isn’t a big deal, but it can be hard to regain your perspective when you’re in the middle of making a decision. I had to decide whether I was going to let this ruin my evening (and everyone else’s in the process) or shrug it off. We’re regularly faced with that kind of choice, and it’s always easier said than done.