Why my 🧠 needs its own operating system

Almost 2 years into the pandemic and so much has changed. I think it's time to organize my life to work with my brain and not against it.

Why my 🧠 needs its own operating system
Photo by That's Her Business / Unsplash

It's Super Bowl Sunday, but I'm spending the day at Karla's parents trying to organize my very messy brain. Because here's the thing, it's a mess up there. Let me explain.

For the past 2 years, I've been working from home because of the pandemic. It was nice at first, but it's gotten to the point where I feel like a zombie in my own home. Not to mention 1 year into the pandemic Karla and I welcomed Diego into the madness. It's an understatement to say working from home with a quickly growing human has been challenging.

What's hard about it? Well, everything. From son up to son down (dad joke) our time and energy are dedicated to making sure this little guy thrives. Meals, playtime, outside time.. all on us. All while we work two full-time jobs that also demand our time and energy.

Reacting to the world around us

It's true that when you have a baby the world stops, but at the same time, it keeps spinning for everyone else, and I feel like I've personally struggled to keep up with basically everything. I'm reacting to Diego's needs, Karla's needs, family's needs, my work's needs, and it's left me very little time and energy to focus on mine. What are my needs? It's hard to even for me to tell you but if I could boil it down to a few things they'd be: structure, and alone time to think and be creative.

They go hand in hand but right now I'm running into the good old chicken and egg problem. I need to be creative to create structure but need structure to allow for time to be creative. I ain't got either right now.

What I'm doing

I'm building a Home Operating System (chkpHomeOS). While it sounds nerdy and to an extent, excessive, I have too much going on at home, at work, and in my head to be constantly thinking and reacting to the environment around me. chkpHomeOS is going to help me build systems and processes at home that make it easier and effortless to do the things I want to do without having to think about it or spend time and energy making a decision. Decision fatigue is real, y'all. Don't even ask me what we're having for dinner because I honestly don't know.

This idea is inspired by Tiago Forte's Building a Second Brain framework, which consists of creating systems and processes that help you externalize information in a way that helps you use your 🧠 to process information, not store it. Maggie Appleton has great visual notes on how this works.

How will chkpHomeOS work?

Processes > Apps. It's easy to download and try different apps to solve every problem, but apps aren't the answer. Apps are tools to help answer a specific problem. You use them to supplement and enhance your process.

I will be using apps for chkpHomeOS, but not just any and all apps. While many apps can do many things, the apps in chkpHomeOS will have a specific purpose. Could I do everything I want in Notion? Sure, but I've tried it and the minute I tried working against my brain everything broke down.

While I plan to use multiple apps, we need to be able to find what we're looking for without opening a bunch of apps, so it's important that before I start this journey and drag Karla with me, there's some structure and reasoning behind these apps.

A very basic example of how I would capture a thought:


A more realistic example of how we would tackle dinner:


What apps am I going to use?

I want to continue using the apps I'm using now, but am going to explore alternatives as look to build and improve.

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Apps I'm using now

Apps I'm considering

  • Clickup as a Notion/Linear alternative
  • Asana as a Linear alternative
  • Slack as the main messaging platform to help create and feed tasks/ideas to other apps
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But that sounds like work?

Yes. Yes, it does. Because it is work. The job titles are many and you are required to quickly switch between the following roles:

  • Parent
  • Partner
  • Friend
  • House manager
  • IT
  • Financial planner and family accountant
  • Respectable, but not professional, cleaning service provider
  • Respectable, but not professional, personal chef for two adults and a little
  • Employee
  • Manager
  • Sales rep
  • Content creator

Each role requires a different skill set. Each task requires a different level of attention and detail.

So yes, if you were to apply for a job that consisted of constantly switching between these types of roles you would hope your employer would provide some resemblance of structure and standard operating procedures so you aren't overwhelmed with the simplest of tasks.

Fortunately, and unfortunately, I have to build this for myself 🥳

What's the goal?

I'm not trying to automate everything. I like automating things. A lot. But the goal isn't to automate every single task I encounter. At its core, I just want to be able to:

  • Know what to do with a thought or idea when I have it
  • Quickly find information when I need it
  • Not panic every time someone asks me to do something

So that's where I'm at

I don't expect this to be up and running by the end of the day. It's going to take some time and buy-in from those around me but I'm lucky to have a group of friends and family that support my wild endeavors.

I'm hoping that this snowballs over time. Small progress that slowly leads to something I can manage and modify as needed so I can spend more time doing things I love and less time mourning why I haven't gotten to them yet.