Taking control over his time once helped Max Jiang take control over his life. As a consequence, he turned encouraging others to do the same into his mission. Writing plays an important role in his life, as it allows him to share his ideas, effectively communicate with others, and find clarity.
Please tell us something about you.
Hey, everyone. I’m Max Jiang, and my job is timing coach: using time as a tool to help my clients to take control of their lives. Two well-known productivity books – Pomodoro Technique Illustrated and Monotasking – were translated into Chinese by me. Now I have built my own brand vim25x1 which aims to improve personal focus and happiness.
What role does writing play in your life?
Writing is a daily routine that can’t be skipped, and for me, there are three kinds of writing:
First: Presentation. This is also part of what I do — how can I better pass on my ideas, express my knowledge and experience in a way that is easy to understand and accept, and can evoke the right action? Whether one does audio, videos, handouts, slides, scripts, posters, Twitter, or group messages, writing is the first battleground, and you need to put every word in their place.
Second: Communication. In the age of email, the ability to write is much more valued. WeChat, WhatsApp, and so on are still letters that have a faster round-trip frequency. Knowing how to write allows you to treat each message as a letter, which makes the communication a dozen times more efficient and effective. In addition to one-on-one communication, I do many speeches, and efficient public expression still depends on the writing.
Third: Meditation. In my opinion, the most important value of writing is intrinsic. Writing is a prerequisite for thinking. It is often the case that writing essays, journals, plans, or even reviews, is for yourself, but it allows you to think more logically and be more organized so that you can get the point.
Writing topics, for me, are rich: personal management, productivity, communication skills are my daily topics, and in addition to this, I would write short stories, science fiction sometimes; I used to be a Front-end developer, does writing code count as writing?
Please tell us which role Ulysses plays in your writing process.
Which tool do you use doesn’t really matter when you start your writing journey - you just write! But as you write more and more, you’ll want writing tools that are as light as possible - you want them to be fast, to open immediately and allow you to write immediately; you don’t want to have to worry about whether or not to save, you don’t want to have to worry about power outages and crashes; you want a simple and beautiful interface that provides only the necessary features for writing; you want beautiful and comfortable default fonts that don’t need formatting. You should only have to worry about the content, and not need to care where it exists. Your writing would be easy to retrieve, can be automatically synchronized across a variety of devices, can export beautiful documents for printing…
Yes! Those things describe Ulysses. I’ve overbearingly raved that Ulysses is the reason people buy a Mac, and if you care about the quality of your work, you’ll be equally surprised, excited, and eager to share when you come across a high-quality tool.
Over the past seven years, Ulysses has helped me with the translation of two books, two TEDx Talks, and countless videotaped lectures, preparation for public lectures, and the ongoing writing of a new book. Not only do I use it for writing, Ulysses is also my teleprompter on iPad.
For the past seven years, new writing apps have constantly been released, and as a zealous geek, I’ve often been the first to try them out. I found that they all missed the point: “the convenience of cloud synchronisation” and “the reliability of local storage”, there should be a perfect combination of the two. Ulysses does!
Even if Ulysses crashes one day, I can still open my sheet because it has local storage and is in a common text format. Actually, it has never crashed, has always been stable, low-profile, and just has done its share of the work. Ulysses is a high-quality tool.
How do you stay productive?
Pomodoro Technique helped me overcome procrastination. It’s not a specific piece of hardware or software, and you can use any timer. It will help you take control of your work and quickly get into the flow, improve your focus and happiness. Here’s how: Pick a to-do item, start a countdown timer, and focus on one thing for 25 minutes. 25 minutes to work, 5 minutes to rest, and so on.
What is your ideal life or work situation?
Eleven years ago, as a programmer, I experienced severe procrastination and left my familiar job, and it was the Pomodoro Technique that helped me get out of the rut and further into my career. Over the years I’ve translated two books, participated in the development of the iTuring.cn (Chinese IT- Plattform, where man can buy relevant books and share articles), moved from the north to Shenzhen, participated in Toastmasters International, widened my social circle with my girlfriend, and built a knowledge brand. The pace of life is always changing, and for me, these are all the parts of a dream life, and my dreams are being realized, step by step, on the way.
My ambitions for this year have been to write a book (which is in the process of being realized, thanks to Ulysses), give an English talk at TED, and travel across time zones with my girlfriend, but as you know, pandemic, trade-wars, and many things happened. A big world is always pushing a little person. I hope everything gets better soon.
You see the picture. I have to use a wheelchair for my daily life. The limitation is one of the best gifts God has given me. He has allowed me to accept the things I cannot change, invest time in the things I can change, and take control of the choices I make every moment of my life.
How did you find out about Ulysses and what do you especially like about it?
Ulysses is like a good steward of my intellectual assets, working diligently. As long as it’s healthy and happy and full of energy, my efficiency is guaranteed. With the upcoming ARM evolution for Apple’s Mac family, I’m already wondering about a future where I can work more portably and productively. I hope in the future, Ulysses still outshines others and is the first tool I open on every work day morning.