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Morfternight #100 • Calendars, Performance Reviews, and DALL-E Prompts.
The one hundredth.
Welcome to Morfternight!
The digital postcard about Photography, Leadership, and AI.
Today, we pass a huge milestone, change our format a bit, introduce paid subscriptions, talk about calendars, time management, and performance reviews. We also learn about using ChatGPT to ask DALL-E to draw stuff.
👋 Good Morfternight!
Greetings from Vienna, my friends!
I've just returned from Hamburg and Málaga round two! And what better homecoming than sharing the monumental 100th issue of Morfternight with you? I hope you're as jazzed to read it as I am to send it your way.
Now, if you've been around for a while, you know I'm all about growth and change. So, let's dive into some tweaks and twirls I'm making to the newsletter:
Firstly, I'm shaking up our usual "Three Places to Visit" section. No more just listing articles with a sprinkle of my thoughts. Starting now, I'll weave my insights and recommendations seamlessly. One cohesive experience is coming right up!
Secondly, we're introducing paid subscriptions! No need to panic—Morfternight stays free for all. Subscribing is just a way for you to show some love and support. And, of course, you'll have my endless gratitude.
Lastly, about the French translation experiment. It didn't quite hit the mark, and that's okay. Your clicks (or the lack thereof) have spoken. So, we're shelving it for now, but always keeping an eye out for what serves you best.
Let's keep this journey engaging and ever-evolving, shall we? To the next 100!
📷 A Postcard from… Vienna
At the distinctive S curve where Neubaugasse meets Siebensterngasse and then Westbahnstraße, an old tram travels line 49. These old bims have been phased out from line 49 in favor of the newer models. They remain a nostalgic reminder of Vienna’s past. I’ll surely miss them after 2026 once they all have been retired.
📆 Calendars and Time Management
Calendars, as everyday tools, have not kept pace with the rapid evolution of our digital lives. They remain largely a reflection of their paper ancestors, with minimal innovative features to support the modern, multi-faceted schedules we juggle daily. Julian Lehr dives into this topic in his essay “Multi-layered calendars — Traveling through time in three dimensions,” exploring the untapped potential of calendars when envisaged as multi-layered canvases for managing our time. He laments the ironic stasis of digital calendars—our “time machines” stuck in the past.
Lehr envisions calendars as three-dimensional grids where different types of time blocks coexist, each layer representing a different kind of activity, be it meetings, tasks, or even periods of non-availability. He critiques the current limitation where calendars treat meetings and tasks as the same, ignoring the inherent differences between them. His discourse extends to how new tools like Amie attempt to blend to-dos with calendar events, although he believes this integration needs to go deeper.
Similarly, in “Time Management, “I shared a transformation in managing tasks and notes over the years, particularly the shift from traditional to-do lists to utilizing the calendar as a dynamic task list. This transition, inspired by others’ practice, not only improved time management but also significantly reduced personal stress. By allocating specific time slots for tasks on the calendar, I found an effective way to ensure that each task receives the attention it requires while also promoting delegation when necessary.
Furthermore, I have incorporated Akiflow, a tool that epitomizes the blend of task management with calendar functionalities. Akiflow facilitates easy scheduling of tasks with designated time slots, priorities, and labels right from a command bar. It bridges the gap between to-dos and time blocks, allowing a seamless transition of tasks into scheduled activities. By consolidating tasks and calendar events into a unified interface, Akiflow brings a semblance of the multi-layered calendar concept to life, making it easier to visualize and manage the day’s agenda.
The discussion by Lehr and the practical adjustments in my approach underscore a collective yearning for calendars to evolve beyond mere date trackers. They should morph into dynamic platforms that mirror the complexity and interrelatedness of our daily activities. As we blend tasks, meetings, and other facets of our schedule, we move closer to the concept of a multi-dimensional calendar, opening doors to a more organized and less stressful management of our daily lives.
✍️ Need any Help with Performance Reviews?
If there is an exercise that often induces a mixture of anxiety and reflection, it’s the Performance Review. It’s that time when we pause to reflect on our journey over the past months. It’s a time that I candidly have found hard to prioritize, particularly when it comes to self-reviews. The task of distilling months of work, achievements, and areas of growth into a structured dialogue often finds itself at a low priority among other pressing tasks. Yet, as someone passionate about continuous development, I recognize its importance.
A recent article from First Round, “Elevate Your Performance Review Conversations with these 12 Expert Tips,” offers instrumental perspectives, templates, and tips. It sheds light on how the dread surrounding performance reviews can be morphed into a constructive and enriching experience. From honing your narrative with a personal press release to structuring the conversation in a way that incites growth, it’s loaded with actionable insights for both managers and direct reports.
In parallel, I reflected on my previous piece on the essence of one-on-one meetings. There’s an unspoken rhythm to these interactions, which, when tuned well, not only elevates the team’s harmony but eases the process of performance reviews.
The blend of continuous one-on-one meetings and the insightful tips from the First Round’s piece has equipped me with a fresh lens to approach performance reviews with a structured yet empathetic lens. It’s a shift from viewing it as a taxing obligation to an avenue for aligning personal and organizational growth.
🤖 ChatGPT Writes Better Prompts for DALL-E
Last week, I found myself knee-deep in crafting slides for an upcoming presentation. I needed three illustrations—stat!
Now, I’ve been dabbling with MidJourney for a while, creating images that are both fun and captivating. But here’s the catch: If you’re trying to generate a consistent series of images, MidJourney falls short. It’s a hassle, to be honest.
So, what did I do? I gave DALL-E 33 via ChatGPT a whirl. First up, I asked for:
An illustration of a couple of arrows going up and to the right, like a chart.
Voilà, out popped this:
Next, I typed:
The same, but with many arrows.
Here’s what I got:
Finally, I made one more request:
The same, but with one big arrow.
Sure, the illustrations aren’t perfect triplets. They don’t all share precisely the same aesthetic. But guess what? The top-right option in each set? Nailed it for me.
Here’s the real kicker: Using ChatGPT’s DALL-E is a breeze. It takes my prompts, talks back, and keeps the conversation going. In contrast, MidJourney would’ve had me wrestling with detailed prompts and micro-adjustments.
Want to dive deeper into the mechanics of these prompts? Simon Willison unpacks it all in his recent post, “Now add a walrus: Prompt engineering in DALL-E 3.”
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