Weekends Revisited

Sat 07 May 2016

It's Saturday morning. It's been a while since Saturday has been a “Saturday” for me. But with the new schedule — working four and half days a week for a client — the standard weekend is back.

After a long period with the freedom to schedule my time as I saw fit, it may seem restrictive to wrap my personal project time around client obligations. But there are benefits. Scarcity encourages prudence. I am forced to focus.

Each week, I know that my plans need to be accomplished during this two and a half day span. Adjusting to this new reality took a little while. And given the nature of client work, I may be forced to readjust the other way as soon as next week. But for now, the weekends are “my time”.

Schedules Rescheduled

Mon 02 May 2016

After several months of planning and working out a system for working at home, things changed. I got some client work out of the blue, work I could not turn down, so I had to adapt.

My plan was to develop this blog while I developed my software. When the time was right, I would help draw attention to my software with the help of this medium.

Instead, a different opportunity arose. Back to consulting work I go for a few weeks (possibly a few months). This means that my software project becomes second priority. In order to accomplish it, I need to become even more diligent about managing my time.

Instead of managing around M's days off, I'm now managing around my weekends. Evenings are now my free time and waking up early is a thing. But life happens, and one has to roll with the punches. And frankly, life changes like this one are not so bad.

So I'll take this opportunity to bone up my systems and make them adaptable to changes that can happen every so often. It's been a few weeks since this all started, but things have settled down now to the point that I can get the machinery moving again and pointed in the right direction.

A Quick and Easy Tip: Set Three Intentions

Tue 15 March 2016

Quickly and simply:

At the beginning of each day, take five minutes to decide on three things that you intend to accomplish that day.

I came across this tip today while listening to the latest episode of the Startups for the Rest of Us podcast. The pertinent part of the conversation lasts less than seven minutes. It goes from 24:32 through 31:30 and is well worth a listen.

Three Daily Intentions

I like this tip – it totally makes sense, and it's easy to try. If it doesn't work, I won't have wasted too much time.

The idea when picking these “intentions” is that instead of focusing on tasks, you focus on goals and accomplishments. Having a list of things to do is great, but it doesn't necessarily mean you're getting any closer to your goals. Listing your intents helps you get there.

This is a daily exercise in productivity versus efficiency, accomplishments versus tasks. It helps to achieve mindfulness of the work you are doing and avoid being busy without getting anything done.

Weekly Intentions

This idea can then be built into a weekly thing. Generally, though not always, the daily intentions help build up the weekly intentions. Naturally, your goals for the week will tend to be bigger and require more time than your daily goals.

Quick and Easy

Spending just five minutes a day making this quick list sounds like it can really help. I'm going to try it for at least the rest of the month.

The Podcast and the Guest

I got this tip from one of the podcasts on my regular playlist. Startups for the Rest of Us is usually hosted by two people and they usually discuss things that come up during the day-to-day management of their online businesses. (I wouldn't classify their businesses as “traditional” startups.)

In this episode, only Rob Walling is present to interview the guest, Chris Bailey. Chris is the author of The Productivity Project a book wherein he describes a year spent trying out many different productivity tips to see just how well they actually work.

His blog looks pretty cool, I'm going to start following it. I'll decide if I want to buy and read the book sometime later on.


Fri 11 March 2016

What I use to write and maintain this website:


(I finally(!) got a Retina iMac. More on it later...)

My primary machine is a 2013 13" Retina MacBook Pro with which I use a Matias Laptop Pro Bluetooth Keyboard and (the original/old version of) the Apple Magic Trackpad.

I also have a semi-retired 2010 27" iMac which currently functions as a server for files, Time Machine backups, and Xcode builds.

On the go, I use my 128gb iPhone 6S. On the couch, I have an original iPad Air 64gb from 2013.


I capture most of my notes, thoughts, and initial ideas on Drafts for iPhone. I sit down to write the text of my blog posts and web pages on Scrivener. (I'm currently trying out Ulysses to see if that works better for me.) For markup, I use Markdown.

I then copy posts into text files which I bake into a website using Pelican, a static blog engine written in Python. I publish the website to a cloud server hosted by Digital Ocean.

Other Apps

These other apps also come in handy quite often:

  • Chocolat – a text editor native to OS X
  • vim – I use vim for all the things
  • Pomodoro One – a great pomodoro timer, free on the App Store
  • Workflow – let your iPhone to do useful things
  • Acorn – for image editing


Fri 11 March 2016

The Diligent is a journal about working from home, working on the home, and balancing the two sets of responsibilities.

My Commitments

My name is Anthony Castillo. I'm an independent software consultant and developer. My home is my office and I work from there most of the time, except when I'm visiting clients. My wife “M” manages her third-generation family business from our home as well. She does this mostly at nights and during her days off after putting in five full days of work at their retail location.

We also both have relatively large extended families. This makes gatherings and holidays lots of fun, but also takes up a significant chunk of our calendar.


It's all too easy for one's work-life balance to be thrown off in one direction or the other. Too much work can be just as bad as too little work. On this blog, I write about strategies and tools I have found that help me and my wife manage our day-to-day business responsibilities while at the same time keeping our home a happy and healthy place to live.


I currently write at least one post every week. I publish links to all articles on The Diligent Twitter account as well as on this site's RSS feed. Some of the product links I have on this site are affiliate links – using them helps support this blog. I only recommend products that I actually like and use.

I'd love to hear from you if you find anything I write interesting or useful! You can contact me on Twitter or via email at hi at thediligent.xyz.

Finally, I have another blogging project where I log my progress as I try to lose some weight.

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