A Special Note

From Douglas Johnston, the creator and designer of the D*I*Y Planner project:

This project started so simply. I wanted some way of using a planner to implement David Allen's Getting Things Done, but I lived four hours' away from the nearest Staples, and --to tell the truth-- there was no way my wife would ever allow me to spend the exorbitant amounts of pocket change needed to keep me regularly supplied with Day Runner or Day-Timer forms anyway.

One Friday night I was at work awaiting a conference call, and I looked at one of my few remaining Day Runner forms. Hmmmm.... You know, I thought, that doesn't look very hard to make. Still waiting for the call, I opened up Illustrator and made my first Next Actions form in less than ten minutes. By time the phone rang an hour later, I had four more forms done. After the call, I stayed late and did a few more. By the end of the weekend, I had a full dozen done.

They were amateurish, to say the least. The design was blocky, the greytones were inconsistent, the fonts were random, and the placement of the elements seemed to imply intoxication. I called the resulting PDF the "GTD Planner" (catchy title, right?) and released the forms as a one-shot deal on my blog, tossing it into the winds, determined to leave it behind thereafter. And then the downloads started to happen. And continued to happen. Four hundred in a little more than a week, to be exact. My blog went from a couple dozen readers to a nearly a thousand. I scratched my head, dumbfounded. You mean, other people find this stuff useful, too?

So as respect the trademark of Mr. Allen, the package was quickly renamed the DIY Planner, and I started adding more and more forms, creating them in response to my own uses, then discovering others had the same needs. The rest of the story should be fairly self-evident, at least for those people familiar with DIYPlanner.com.

And so here we are, on the eve of version 3.0. As I write this, we are standing firm at over 400,000 downloads of versions 1, 2 and the Hipster PDA. They say that the third time's the charm. I hope that's true. This version has been nearly a year in development, and I've tried to make the kits as powerful, adaptable and professional as I could, given my limited resources. (After all, it is a volunteer project, and my poor Mac is nearly six years old.) I'm anxious to see how it will be received. If nothing else, I'm hoping to help people save money, become more productive, and explore their creativity, and --just maybe-- I'll earn a little good karma in the process.

So now the thank-you's. First of all, this wouldn't be possible without the inspiration provided by David Allen. My years of haphazardly following every half-cooked productivity method came to an end when I realised how effective his GTD methods were for me. (And I'm not alone, judging from the thousands of D*I*Y Planner users who rate GTD above any other system.) His frank, no-nonsense and effective methodology, his openness towards letting folks on the Net share their GTD ideas, tweaks and philosophies, his eagerness to be candid and share his musings on a regular basis, and even his honest and humble admissions of being a mere human (you may laugh, but have you heard "the competition"?) -- all of these make him an ideal guru to lead the way into a new era of productive thought.

The DIYPlanner.com team has also earned my eternal thanks. They came from out of nowhere to help set up the site, to write articles on a weekly basis, to help out in the forums and comments, and to be there for me, personally, when I felt the pressures of life weighing heavy on my shoulders. Thanks to Eric, who was integral in getting DIYPlanner.com running, with all its bells and whistles; thanks to Sacha, my little cheerleader who knows a thing or two about becoming productive. Thanks to Jaymi, who not only shares her creative inspiration with us weekly, but who jumped in to help re-structure, write and edit this new handbook. Thanks to Steve for reminding me that the world is not necessarily too much with us, late and soon. Thank you to our newcomer Hugo, who took the reigns with the handbook and cat-herding, while I concentrated on polishing all the forms. And thank you to all the folks on the production team (and especially co-editor Rebecca) who contributed their time to writing and proofing and providing essential feedback.

And, last but not least, thanks to my wife Jennifer and my baby son Conor, who have had to deal with reams of paper, empty ink cartridges, strange calls from the media, obsessive tendencies regarding greys and fonts, a blurry-eyed coffee-swilling morning wreck, and a decided lack of quality time in recent months. This project is dedicated to them.

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