Favorites of 2021

Hello friends,

I hope you were able to find some time to enjoy yourself this holiday season, perhaps diving into a fun new hobby.

I've been mentally preparing for a retreat to plan my next year. Lots of big plans to come, and especially excited to start hitting some of my early benchmarks for my Refocus book.

I wanted to wrap up the year sharing some of my personal favorite things from this year. Some are ADHD related, but a lot of them are just random things that interest me and I thought were some of the best or most interesting or helpful of the year.

I'd love to hear some of your favorites of the year as well!

You can reply directly to this email or DM me on Twitter or Instagram and I may I'll share those in a future newsletter.

Hope you have a wonderful new year, and I can't wait to see what 2022 brings!

Stay focused,

Jesse J. Anderson

P.S. I'm sending this a day later than usual because ConvertKit was down for maintenance at my normal delivery time, and because I wanted to use that as an excuse to procrastinate an extra day. 😅


Favorites of 2021

📲 Apps

  • Craft. I've tried a lot of different writing and note management apps in the past years, but I keep coming back to Craft (which just won Apple's coveted design award for 2021). It's stellar on iPhone, iPad, and Mac.
  • Due. It's a simple reminders app, but one I've been using for years because of its simplicity and my favorite feature—nagging alarms. I only use Due for a few repeated tasks, but my one rule is to never mark something as done unless it's actually done.

🎙 Podcasts

  • ADHD reWired. The first ADHD podcast I ever listened to and still my favorite. Eric Tivers does a great job interviewing ADHDers about their experience.
  • Cortex. One of my favorite annual rituals is to listen to the new Yearly Themes episode to get me in the right mood for tackling the next year.
  • Focused. A productivity podcast about more than just surface-level quick tips and tricks. I was honored to be a guest earlier this year for Episode 135.
  • Makers.dev. Another podcast I was able to be a guest on (Episode 30). Just two developers discussing their latest projects and thoughts on improving life.
  • Nested Folders. A lot of Getting-Things-Done podcasts push blanket strategies that aren't helpful many, but Rose and Scotty aren't afraid to talk about the ups and downs of trying to be more productive and the pitfalls you may need to navigate.
  • Software Social. Michelle and Colleen discuss their adventures in SaaS development, and tackle deeper issues like burnout with authenticity and vulnerability.

📚 Books

  • Your Brain's Not Broken by Dr. Tamara Rosier. I haven't finished this one yet, but I've really enjoyed a lot of what I've read so far. Books on ADHD often lean too far into the science to where it becomes difficult to read, or too far into fluffy self-help territory that isn't beneficial—but this book manages to find that right balance right in the middle.
  • Show Your Work! by Austin Kleon. This book was one of the inspirations behind much of the work I did in 2021. Writing and sharing my story, experience, and learnings in a public space. It's about not being afraid to be raw and open with your work, and not waiting until you've built a masterpiece.
  • Soundtracks by Jon Acuff. So many of us have negative soundtracks repeating in our heads that get in our way. Acuff's writing always has a great sense of humor making this book a fun read, but also very practical advice on how you can change your personal soundtrack.

🎧 Music

  • Underground by Cody Fry (Youtube). Imagine your favorite indie singer-songwriter meets John Williams and that gives you an idea what to expect from Cody Fry. He blew up earlier this year on TikTok with his haunting Eleanor Rigby cover (and got nominated for a Grammy!) but I love Underground even more. Soaring french horns never sounded so good.
  • The Million Masks of God by Manchester Orchestra (Spotify). This is good music. Manchester Orchestra is one of my favorite bands but this album takes it to a new level. I loved it so much I wrote a full album review.
  • Screen Violence by Chvrches (Spotify). Another one of my favorite bands, this album has a bit of a darker sound than previous ones and I am here for it.

📺 TV

  • WandaVision + Loki + Hawkeye. I was a casual fan of the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) before this year, but the trailer for WandaVision looked so wild, I ended up watching almost all of the movies I had missed in the span of a couple of weeks so I would know what was happening. They've been knocking it of the park this year with MCU exclusive shows on Disney+ and I'm now a big fan and can't wait to see where they go from here.
  • Ted Lasso. What show has as much heart as Ted Lasso? Not many. While there were a couple of weird swings in season 2 (what was with that Coach Beard episode?), it retains a lot of what made the first season special and took it to a more nuanced place. Still can't believe this show turned out to be good.
  • Station Eleven. I've only seen the first 3 episodes, but so far it seems to be doing an amazing job of capturing what was spcial about the 2014 novel by Emily St. John Mandel. It can be difficult to watch a show about a pandemic while literally dealing with a pandemic, but I'm finding it cathartic.

🎮 Video Games

  • Halo Infinite. It's been awhile since I really enjoyed a Halo game, but this one really brought back the joy I felt with the original. Open world is a grreat fit and the hookshot feels perfect. Pure fun from start to finish.
  • Far Cry 6. I heard someone describe this game as a Chaos Simulator, and that is an apt description. It's fun to blow things up, and Far Cry 6 provides ample opportunity to do just that.
  • Call of the Sea. An interesting little narrative 1930s adventure game that I quite enjoyed. It's propelled by the wonderful voice-acting of Cissy Jones and I really enjoyed slowly uncovering the strange mystery.

❓ Other

  • ADHD Cosmic Takeover. Every year, for ADHD Awareness Month many ADHD comic artists get together to share comics on their experience with ADHD and I was so excited to participate this year. My comic was Out of Sight, Out of Mind.
  • Remarkable 2 Tablet. It costs as much as an iPad but doesn't do nearly as much. And I love it. It's an impossibly thin e-ink device perfect for writing notes on and reading PDFs. It feels like writing on paper and syncs automatically with your devices. I thought I might regret buying it, but 6 months later I still use it all that time. (affiliate link + $40 discount)

🐦🧠 My 10 Favorite ADHD Tweets/Threads (Dec 28th) ADHDers often feel like they can do anything—our potential is only limited by our ability to be interested and engaged. Dr. William Dodson calls this omnipotential, "they quite literally can do anything if they can get engaged."