My Favorite Tweet

November 17, 2020 holman

I wrote my favorite tweet way back in 2013:

That tweet links to a file which is virtually a bash one-liner:

touch ~/Desktop/"$(echo $@)"

I fucking love this tweet. It’s simple, and it’s hilarious. The idea was — especially back then, during the era of Wunderlist and Things and new todo apps being released seemingly every week — that everyone was spending incredibly too much time coming up with ridiculous task systems and convoluted organizational hierarchies. Really, the easier thing is to just drop a blank file on your desktop to remind you to do something, and when you’re done with it, delete the file. Easy. That was my process for getting things done. I’d tried so many different systems… they were all so fucking complicated.

I fucking love this tweet because it’s 100% correct. Circa 2013 me absolutely worked in this manner. I’d have a couple week-long tasks I’d want to build out, or do, or accomplish that week, and then I’d leave a couple of reminders to myself throughout the day as I move in and out of different tiny tasks. It was incredibly insightful to cut through the bullshit and realize I didn’t need anything more complex.

I fucking love this tweet because it’s completely and utterly wrong. I still work in this manner — I have a single file on my desktop right now that’s only there to remind me to try installing room-assistant in the next week or so. And that’s how I use it: “let me kind of keep this in mind to do eventually”. But the thought of basing my whole life and workflow off of such a simple system today seems completely bonkers; it really cracks me up.

Same, but different

Like most people, my life’s gotten more complicated as I’ve gotten older. Gone are the days of my singular focus being that day’s work tasks; they’ve been replaced with needs to keep track of like, paying a bill every thirteen and a half weeks and I really can’t forget that otherwise I don’t know the world will explode or something. I use Things pretty religiously these days, and, much like my calendar, if it’s not on there I’m simply not going to do it.

It’s wrong to couch this as simply a “young people are idiots” tale, though. I mean, yes, they are, but that’s besides the point. I fucking love this tweet because it shows how I’ve changed since then. And I don’t mean that in a negative way: it’s just what ended up happening. Maybe I’ll eventually go back to a simpler approach, maybe I won’t. It’s what works for me now.

I fucking love this tweet not because it’s a good reminder that what someone says today isn’t what they might say the next day or year or decade. Again, it doesn’t make them wrong; it just makes you really question the context of what’s being said (which is something we should all get better at anyway). Someone can both say something that’s wrong to you and correct for them. And sometimes those two people are the same person.

Also I love this tweet because all jokes written out in POSIX shell are hilarious to me.

So yeah, I think it’s a good tweet. It reminds me of where I was and where I am. So it’s my favorite tweet.

I mean, for now.