Just one guy’s musings

Just wanted to lay out a thought that’s been bouncing around my head now for a while.

As I left school and confronted the pressures and responsibilities that come with adult life, I quickly realized that my previous strategy of half-assing my life quickly wasn’t effective anymore. You can’t half-ass an office job. You can’t half-ass paying your bills on time. If you want to make people feel comfortable in your home, you can’t half-ass things like taking out the trash or keeping your place clean.

It was all way too much to handle at once for me. And as my responsibilities continued to grow, I turned towards the internet for help managing my life. That’s when I first encountered the rabbit hole that I like to call the internet’s “productivity community.”

What exactly is the productivity community, you might ask? Just search “productivity” on YouTube and see what comes up. Or, if you really want to go deeper down the rabbit hole, search for things like “Task Management Apps” or “Best Note Taking Apps” and, without fail, you’ll quickly notice that you see the same familiar faces, and concepts such as GTD (Getting Things Done) and Building a Second Brain.

At the time, this content was a revelation for me. I had never taken the time to develop solid organizational skills because I had an executive function disorder that flew under the radar. Before this, in school, I was able indulge in my own worst habits. I chronically procrastinated. I had a teacher who graded on completion and came to our desks only looking to see if we had something written down. I showed her old homework every single time.

Now, I was learning how to take control of my life. Over the years, I became well acquainted with GTD. I started using a task management app. I closed all of my “open loops” by religiously entering them into my inbox. I diligently did my weekly reviews.

I began taking detailed notes on things in a note-taking app. I learned the PARA method. When bi-directional linking notes together became popular, I followed suit.

When I felt as though my system wasn’t suiting me, I changed things. I changed the apps I used. Then I changed them again. Then I changed them again and again and again. My productivity system had to be perfect. I had to be perfect. Why couldn’t I just do the things I was supposed to do? Clearly these systems weren’t working for me. So I had to adapt. I had to look up more videos. More articles. More guides.

I watched videos on how to improve my focus, building habits, hacking your sleep, watching all your content on 2x speed to increase media consumption, how to purge all of your belongings, and so on and so on.

Nothing worked.

Early this year (2023 as I’m writing this) I was diagnosed with ADHD-PI. In the immediate aftermath of my diagnosis, seismic waves of realizations about my entire life and many of the things I’ve experienced over time washed over me. One of these realizations was that my endless pursuit of productivity and self-improvement stemmed from my undiagnosed condition.

I can recall a a moment where I had decided I had to change my productivity system up. I obsessively picked apart GTD’s five step process in and effort understand it better. I can remember telling myself, exasperated, that Step 5 – “Engage” or “Do” was the weakest link in the system. “It doesn’t tell you how or when to actually do stuff!” I’d tell myself. “It’s so vague!”

Clearly I didn’t consider that, for most people, the part where you “do” the things on your list is the easy part of GTD.

This leads me to my greater point… all of these systems, productivity methods, hacks, etc. are not designed for those of us with ADHD. They’re designed for those who might struggle with organization or who might need more guidance, but not those who are struggling with executive functioning, processing difficulties or short-term memory issues.

I also came to understand that self-proclaimed “productivity gurus” such as David Allen, Ali Abdaal, Tiago Forte, Francesco d’Alessio, Matt D’avella, Thomas Frank and many others, whether intentionally, or more likely, as a result of the dopamine fueled lotto that is social media, exist as hostile and predatory figures to the neurodiverse community.

These people operate by creating content that promises the viewer clarity, the ability to “get things done,” improve their thinking and creativity and, in some nefarious cases, make a great deal of money, among other things. All you have to do is take the advice they give in their videos on blind faith. Just check out this new app, try this new way of organizing yourself, connect your apps in this specific way, develop these particular habits. And then, since they’re content creators who operate in an attention-driven economy, and exploit social media patterns for their own gain, they release their next video containing new recommendations, new and better systems, and other, shiny new ways to do things ad infinitum.

To someone with ADHD who doesn’t know any better, like myself, this hijacks a genuine interest in improving oneself and becomes a hyper fixation that will likely only result in frustration, disappointment, perfectionism and burnout.

I’ve since realized that productivity influencers are overrated. Especially those who don’t struggle with issues like mine. Their advice for someone like me is bogus and won’t ever stick. You mean to tell me that I should organize all of my notes into a Projects folder, Areas folder, Resources folder or Archive folder, keep those folders organized, mirror this setup in a task manager, add contexts to my tasks, prune my notes for bi-directional links all while tracking my habits in a custom kanban database in Notion? Yeah right… the minute I fall off of a system this rigid in favor of something more simplistic is the minute everything falls apart.

I read some advice on the ADHD subreddit some time back. It said this:

“I really think the problem with most organizational systems for people with ADHD is that other people’s systems almost never work for us. We need to build our own, and understand that the things the system is telling us to do are coming from US, not some outside authority”

This has become my exact position over time. Nowadays, I keep things simple. I largely use stock apps on my iPhone, iPad and MacBook and focus far more on what works for me. I try not to worry about perfection anymore. I regard all the creators in the productivity rabbit hole with disdain, whether justified or not. It doesn’t matter to me.

Living with ADHD sucks. It’s not easy. I’ll likely have issues forming habits, being organized or taking charge of my own life for the entirety of my life. I can recognize that and work on my problems one step at a time. I don’t need random people with expensive cameras and Skillshare money to remind me that these tendencies make things harder for me. What’s more, I definitely don’t need them to sell me their new solution of the week as though it’s some golden answer that will fix me.

Hi all -

I'd like to start posting monthly updates. My hope is to make these a recurring post so I can commemorate and share what’s been happening in my life. I have no idea what structure this will take, but I’ll likely talk about a wide variety of things that have stood out for me.

Let's dive into some of my highlights in June.


Last month, I ran my first race in over eight years. Back in college, I used to love participating in races, though the distances were never too crazy. Even though I’m a more experienced runner at this stage in my life, I kept the distance on this race low and participated in a 5k in my local neighborhood. The weather was brutally hot that day and I was very under-hydrated, but the race was a lot of fun!

As the cherry on top, however, my partner invited a handful of friends and some of her family to support me at the park near our apartment. I felt a lot of love and encouragement for what ended up being such a short run.

Overall, I finished the race at 29:53 which is a time I’ll gladly take, given that I’ve been struggling various ankle and knee injuries since December 2021.

As a bonus, I’ll throw in my running playlist I’ve been rocking out to lately. It’s all electronic, and mostly Psy/Goa stuff, but it makes for great running music! If that interests you, feel free to pop it on for your next run.

Here's the link

Violet Noise

In my first post on the blog, I mentioned my music project. However, I didn't go into much detail. So, without further ado, let me introduce you to Violet Noise. VN's a complete passion project and my goal is really to just make music that interests me. I do all of the songwriting, production, mixing, marketing and visual art. It's been a great outlet for me, if I'm being honest.

June saw me diving back into the swing of songwriting, whilst also toying around with some new sounds/techniques. Lately, I’ve been really interested in learning to chop breaks, inspired by all the break and jungle music I’ve been listening to in the last handful of months. As such, I’ve been strongly considering incorporating some of those sounds into my music.

As of right now, my plan is to release a couple of singles before diving deep into a much larger project, most likely an LP. After releasing my EP, I planned on slowing down a bit as a “palette cleanser” before immersing myself in a huge project. Currently, I have rough, rough, rough sketches for about 10 songs. Only 2 of which will survive. Half aren’t even real songs with full instrumentation yet. They’re just beats! Regardless, there’s nothing much to share at the moment, other than sharing that I’m working on music as much as I'm able to.


After everything that went down with Reddit last month, I’ve fully transitioned from Reddit to Tildes. I have to say, the experience has been really refreshing so far.

After spending well over a decade on Reddit, I started to realize just how much that place brought me down with its endless negativity. It felt like nearly half of the posts were laced with negative sentiment or were just focused on straight up complaining. It’s funny because right before all the API shenanigans began, I had started to really think about Reddit’s impact on my mental well-being. So, when all of this began to unfold, I gladly deleted every account I've ever made at Reddit and haven’t looked back since.

On the other hand, Tildes, has been a breath of fresh air. The community is pleasant, and the discussions there are real. Like… really real. It’s fun to be back on a platform that moves a little “slower” (I'll likely post about this concept at some point, since it's something that's been on my mind lately).

I have 4 invites Tildes left. If anyone reading this is interested, feel free to private message me on Mastodon. That’ll probably be the fastest way to get my attention.

Pocket Casts

Over the last several months, I've been experimenting with Overcast as my daily podcatcher. After some time though, I've made the switch back to Pocket Casts as my go-to app for podcasts.

While Overcast is certainly a good app and nothing to sneeze at, Pocket Casts ultimately still wins me over due to its customizable playlist features and better Apple Watch functionality.

This topic tends to elicit a diversity of opinions since its so dependent on the way in which you, as the user, prefer organizing and consuming your media. Personally, being able to organize the podcasts in my feed via adjustable filters neatly fits the way I approach finding the next thing to listen to. Therefore, Pocket Casts is the clear winner in my book.

Have your own thoughts? Suggestions for podcatchers/podcasts? Drop me a note on Mastodon, I'd love to chat!

La La Land

This will be my last note since I'm starting to realize that I could keep this going for quite a while!

My partner and I had a great time at the Rooftop Cinema Club in Chicago's West Loop, where we watched “La La Land.” I actually saw this film in theaters when it first came out, but this time around, I felt as though the film resonated with me more deeply. Maybe I’m just a little more media literate now? It's also possible that, because I'm older and have more life experience, many of the themes and hardships Seb and Mia go through are more relatable. And, without spoiling the film for those of you who haven't seen it, I think this allowed me to feel a deeper emotional connection to the end of the film.

No film is perfect, and La La Land is no exception to this rule. There are problematic aspects of the movie (white saviorism and all that). Those elements of the film occasionally lessened my enjoyment of the plot, and made certain moments harder to watch. Additionally,, many people online and in my own life have noted that the film sags in the middle. However, at the end of the day, there's a lot to this film that's special.

The set pieces, the music, the chemistry between Stone and Gosling… there’s a lot to appreciate here. All in all, it made for a really nice night out at the movies.

If you’ve read this far, then thanks! I’m still trying to figure out how I want to approach writing on this blog. I thought this format could be a nice way to hold myself accountable when it comes to posting consistently.

Stay tuned for more of my thoughts on this blog. I look forward to providing a July Highlights post soon enough.

Until next time!

#running #music #musicproduction #tildes #reddit #podcasts #movies

This will be my only post about #Threads since I don’t care to give it the time or attention it doesn’t need.

As it stands right now, it feels chaotic and impersonal. While #Mastodon feels like a nice community where I follow real blogs (micro as they may be) that I’m interested in. Threads feels like the old social media dick measuring contest to see who can make the most bottom-of-the-barrel joke the fastest and subsequently rake in the most likes/reposts the fastest.

As an aside, in my use case, Instagram is primarily a platform used by my real life connections. Almost all of the people I know in real life stopped using/actually posting on micro-blogging platforms like #Twitter or Mastodon around 2016.

A lot of people I know tie their real names to their Instagram handles. Conversely, a lot of people I know no longer want their real names tied to their microblogging handles.

So sure, there might have been a few million users signing up in the first few hours, but how many of those accounts will convert to people who actually contribute to the community and post?

At the end of the day, I think Threads is here to stay. At least for quite a while. But, if user engagement, and therefore, ad revenue, is low, it’s definitely the kind of thing I could see #Meta pulling the plug on in a handful of years.

Regardless, I know I won't be using it any time soon.

Hello -

Bear with me since this is my first blog post. I’ll try to keep it short and sweet.

My name is Mason. I’m a creative living in Chicago. I use the vague word “creative” here because I’m a bit of a Jack of all trades, master of none. Basically, my ideas to output ratio is very low (likely as a result of my ADHD). A lot of different mediums resonate with me, but I have trouble seeing things through. Obviously I’m learning to change that, and I even independently released my first EP of produced music a couple of months ago! It’s all a work in progress.

I’ll likely be posting my thoughts, ideas and other things here. I have a wide variety of interests so you’ll likely see a bit of everything from music production, visual art, graphic design (my day job), ADHD talk, Apple hardware/software and more.

Really, whatever catches my eye and is too long for other platforms is fair game.

You can find me on the Fediverse for shorter thoughts. Additionally, here’s a link my music. I’ll eventually have my portfolio site up, but it’s under construction so no point in that right now.

Until next time!

#introductions #ADHD #Chicago