Oh, they grow up sooo fast...

GTD, Italian Style?Well, two years have come and gone since we our motley little crew formed DIYPlanner.com as a hub for paper-based planning and creativity. Last week we had our big giveaway, handing out thousands of dollars worth of beautiful gear to our members, but this week we'll be relaxing a tad and doing a little retrospective.

Our second anniversary marks a degree of success that I would have never predicted, yet alone tried to achieve. In a little interview I gave not that long ago, I was asked why I started it. I must admit, there was a certain selfish motivation at work: I wanted to reclaim a bit of my own spare time.

At first, DIYPlanner.com was simply conceived of as a home for the D*I*Y Planner kits, the demand for which was completely overwhelming my own little blog and the meagre advice I could dole out. More and more people were downloading the then-current and rather simplistic kit, constantly asking questions, looking for productivity information, providing criticism (constructive and not), sending me dozens of emails per day and, dutifully, I tried to respond to it all. But it was siphoning all my time, running me down, and my new job and my newborn were in danger of being neglected. So DIYPlanner.com was a knee-jerk reaction to distance myself from the daily deluge: it was to be a tiny site with a few static pages, nothing more, and with very little interaction. And it almost was....

As I watched people discuss and interact with each other in my blog postings, however, I had a bit of a change of heart. Readers were actually providing each other with great advice. Being somewhat dense at times (my father used the expression "stunned as me arse"), it took a little while before I realised that a community site might make sense. True, the D*I*Y Planner kits would be a reason why most people would initially come, but they'd stay because of original articles, active forums, great templates designed by others, and a system that facilitated friendship, support, and really sound advice. A little utopian in a way, I know, but it was a working plan. A call for writers and helpers soon netted eric, Innowen, Sacha Chua and my former student Steve and, as they say, the rest is history.

It's interesting to see the evolution of the site over the past couple of years. While we did start as a home for the kits, those have become progressively less important, perhaps because I haven't produced any in a while. (To be honest, I have to wonder how much further I can take them.) Instead, there are articles and discussions about journals, pens, notebooks, do-it-yourself binding systems (e.g., Circa and Myndology), book-making, creativity how-to's, productivity, and then my rather aimless ramblings. The current team of Innowen, eric, Steve, Sard, Sara and Ygor have proven not only to be talented creatives and editors, but excellent moderators as well.

Speaking of my ramblings, I've asked the team to select some of their top or most noteworthy articles for their posts this week, and I've done the same. That's a tough thing to do, but here goes....

  • "The Door Is Open, Come On in...": Well, this is a retrospective, after all, so it's only right that I include the very first post of the site.
  • The Beginner's Mind: The most essential part of planning is the beginning, and the best beginning is the breaking down of all the complexities that face us, leaving only our most basic needs.
  • Moleskine: A Love Affair?: Yes, many of us have fallen head-first into this sort of relationship. Thankfully, mine has yet to end in tears.
  • Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy: Which type of planner are you? This is actually a cross-post from DIYPlanner to my (mostly fallow) personal blog, but I'm referencing this one because I'm a unapologetic fanboy: see the comments. We also had a poll.
  • Three Goddesses, One Line: Sometimes a single line in a journal is all you need to evoke a flood of memories.

Oh, it's so very painful to read those pieces and think of how I could have done better. (I remember hearing an interview with Annie Lennox, and she mentioned she never listened to an album of hers again once it was released.)

So what's next for us? Frankly, I haven't the foggiest. Of course we'll continue to churn out original articles on whatever topic strikes our fancy. We have a series of reviews and guest posters lined up. I have a few ideas for some new forms, and Ygor's new dynamic templating system is really starting to take shape. We also have a few competitions in mind -- unlike last week, these will allow site members to show off some of their creative talents for the benefit of all. That includes templates, do-it-yourself projects, journal designs, and more. And then we also have a few other site modifications in mind. (Did anyone notice you can now upload a photo in your profile?)

Well, folks, thanks for sticking with us for the past two years. And I'd like to personally thank Sara Anderson, one of our favourite designers, for contributing the wonderful graphic at the beginning of this article (and on very short notice at that), along with the rest of the members of the team for sticking with me for so long. I'm not exactly the easiest guy to work with. ;-)

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Happy 2nd Anniversary

I'd like to thank doug for this site, and the many editors, contributors etc that make it so wonderful to read. The designs and templates have been huge helps more than a few times, and inspirations for my own organization (and combating the lack there of)abound.

Thanks, more than I can say.

Thanks for all the fish

Thanks for two years, that means I have been reading this for half the sites lifetime!

I appreciate the information, the banter, and the reminder to always keep my towel with me! (One of my favorite articles was the one on towel day -- it made me pull out my Ultimate Guide... which resulted in me buying all the other related stories by Adams, hence the "thanks for all the fish" line at top!)

The Passionate Pilgrim
-- Excellence through Simplicity

Yes, it hasn't been easy

Yes, it hasn't been easy keeping this site fresh and original. I credit it to a group dynamic of being awesome and of course to the readers, the number and dedication of whom still stagger me:P

Steve Sharam
www.whenrealityknocks.com

And thanks to you and the crew

This site, and this community, would not be what it is without your spark of leadership and creation, Doug. Al of this would have never happened if you had thrown up your hands and decided it was too much to handle.

You've assembled (and shuffled, yes) a crew of helpers, admins, writers, editors, moderators, readers, posters, and others who have kept this site interesting and useful for two years -- and show no sign of stopping. We all contribute to the community, but it had to start somewhere. :)

(I guess I'm one of the old-timers here, though I lurk a whole lot more than I post these days.)

--
flexiblefine
Do you procrastinate?
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/TheNowHabit/

terriffic site, great content

Congratulations on sustaining the terrific work, Doug. Much appreciated!

I think one of my favourite

I think one of my favourite posts may have been Focus, Like a Rooftop Garden.

Thanks for two years, and all the good energy and ideas.
I did a little post about the past two years and the most recent interview here (not to embarrass anyone or anything... )

I have all my pretty notebooks lined up on my desk for mind mapping and to work out inspiration. I should get around to finishing some artist templates I've had in mind for a while, but today I'm putting my art degree to good use and making a potty chart with dinosaur stickers.

Cheers, jp

--
www.spaceabovethecouch.com

where can i get that hat?

I love these images Sara. I didn't know you were so handy with photoshop... you have talent!