Write ‘Now’, Right Now

Why do we put off to later what we can do now?  For some reason most of us can’t resist. It’s a problem so common that we even gave it a name, procrastination.  Back in college I had a realization that turned my room into a sideshow—but it also helped me get things done.

The Power of Now

I don’t run around preaching the good word of every self-help book I read. Not that they’re bad, it’s just that few are excellent.¹ One of the few excellent ones that I’ve read is The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle. He was a big deal after writing this around 2008. The thesis of the book is about helping the reader be more present. Hence, ‘now.’

It took me a day and a half to read it. I couldn’t put the book down. The ideas within captivated me, right from the first story about how he had an epiphany that changed his life. 

Afterwards I was hooked on a newfound appreciation for the present moment. My thoughts were tugging me away from it all day, and I was constantly having to remind myself to let them go. Unfortunately I was having a hell of a time trying to make it happen. One day my desire to be present clashed harder than ever with my inability to do so. 

To The Next Level

Back then I lived in a small dorm room that was just big enough to fit a twin bed, a small desk, and a fridge. All three pieces of furniture were within a foot of one another—the whole room wasn’t much larger than a walk-in closet. There were art supplies tucked in every nook, which served me well on this fateful day.

I threw my hands up in frustration. Expletives poured forth and mingled with sounds that floated up into my sixth floor window from the corner of 23rd and Lexington. I slammed a large format sketchbook on my paint-stained desk. My hands tore through my art supplies for the boldest writing instrument I could find. Finally, I scored—a fat blue Sharpie.

I scribbled “NOW,” bright and wide, filling up a page. I tore it off and filled another page, and another, until I had a stack of blue NOW’s ready to go. Then I proceeded to Scotch tape them on every wall and surface so that, no matter which direction I was looking, I would see a NOW. That included the floor, ceiling, and yes, even the shower.

It was rudimentary. It was aggressive. But my method worked. Within a few days I was more present than ever before. I left those pages up all year, and the effect still lingers to this day.²

Your Turn

It’s your turn to try it out. You can read the book, but you don’t have to. And I don’t expect you to plaster your home or workplace with NOW’s, either. Try it on a small scale: Grab a sticky note, write our little magic word, and put it in a place you’ll see it.


1. Self-help books are great. They get a lot of flack, but in reality they’re written by others who have figured out something about life that most of us haven’t. I’m all over that shit.

2. Being present isn't a magic bullet, but it does improve life in a lot of ways. My personal relationships grew deeper, my design and drawing work developed profoundly—and I became happier overall.

Task List Momentum

How I love making checkmarks in little boxes. I’m a task list enthusiast, which is putting it lightly. I’ve tried every technique and app out there. At some point I’m going to dig into my task methodology, but for now, a tip.

Marc Champagne, the co-founder of Kyō¹, and I were having a pre-breakfast conversation last week about morning routines. We were discussing different strategies we use to get into a clear, positive mindset for the rest of the day.

At one point I mentioned my strategy for ordering my task list and Marc stopped me mid-sentence. He asked me to go back and describe in detail exactly what I meant. Marc had never hear of anyone doing this and, after thinking about it, I hadn’t either. So here it is.

Warm-Up Tasks

I keep two task lists, one for work and one for everything else.² On the Everything Else list I tend to wake up with about 6-10 items collected over previous days, and I usually add another 4-6 throughout the day.

Here’s the tip: Add warm-up tasks.

I put 1-3 simple tasks at the top of the list—the warm-up tasks—and I make sure to complete them before I get to work. They’re usually straightforward things like Take out the trash or Schedule haircut. By the time I get to Studio Fig I’ve completed ~15% of my list. It’s just enough to build momentum for the rest of the day.

1. I'm an avid supporter of journaling by hand as part of the meditative/self-reflective experience. If you're into using your phone and want to check an alternative to Day One, check out Kyō.

2. We currently use Basecamp for all high level project management and tasks at Baron Fig. I use a combination of paper lists (Baron Fig's Mastermind and Nomad, usually) and Things 3.

Our World Changes Tomorrow

Big changes, while they often seem sudden, don’t just happen out of thin air. It takes a series of smaller events that fly under the radar, slowly building up to an inflection point that breaks into mainstream consciousness.

Tomorrow one of the biggest building blocks of our technological ecosystem will release: Augmented reality (AR) on iPhone.¹ It will start out slow, but before we know it AR will be a part of our everyday lives.

What is Augmented Reality?

Augmented reality is, in a nutshell, the combining of software and reality.² It’s the best of both worlds—the literal application of everything we’ve learned over the last decade on the App Store. 

It’s far easier to understand by seeing. Take a look below at some of the experimental AR that’s been released over the past couple of months.

 Play around with a Tesla right in your own driveway. "Model3AR" by @JelmerVerhoog

Play around with a Tesla right in your own driveway. "Model3AR" by @JelmerVerhoog

 Preview your dish before your order. By Alper Guler.

Preview your dish before your order. By Alper Guler.

 Be entertained in your own home. By Tomas Garcia.

Be entertained in your own home. By Tomas Garcia.

I could go on, but you get the idea. View more at Made With ARKit.

But hasn't AR been around for years?

Good question. Yes, AR has been around since the early 90s, starting with the US Air Force and gaining traction in commercial applications. The difference is that it's finally coming to the average person. Finding a new experience will be as easy as making a quick visit to the Apple App Store. And we can do it all on a device that lives in our pocket—a device that most of us already have, right now.

The possibilities are endless. Every facet of our lives is impacted by apps already (whether it's a good or bad thing is a separate conversation), imagine that same saturation with AR. Finding your friend in a crowd will be as simple as holding your phone up and following an arrow. You'll be able to see the names and stats of sports players at a live event, right over their heads. You can play chess on the table with your friends... without an actual chess set. I'm excited to see how our lives change for the better in ways we can't yet imagine.

 Augmented Reality is sure to—ahem—make a splash.

Augmented Reality is sure to—ahem—make a splash.

Tomorrow, It Happens

I could go on and on about the potential of AR, how it's going to change our lives forever (epic claim). Instead, I'll stop, because only time will tell. For now, let's enjoy the journey. Make sure you update your iPhone to iOS 11 tomorrow so you can start experiencing AR for yourself. 



1. I know, I know. “What about Android?” I’m not discrediting Google or Android, but the mainstream current is dictated by Apple right now. That’s just how it is.

2. Wikipedia’s official definition: Augmented reality is a live direct or indirect view of a physical, real-world environment whose elements are "augmented" by computer-generated or extracted real-world sensory input such as sound, video, graphics or GPS data.