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We are a community of people who see the value of paper as a medium for planning, productivity, creative expression, and exploring ideas. We encourage visitors to share advice and inspiration, and we love to see submissions for templates, kit images and story articles. We are also the official home of the free D*I*Y Planner kits. Please enjoy your stay, and make yourself at home!

Boy Howdy! Let's Have A Meeting!

Greetings all. It's been a long time! Sorry I've been away so long, but I've been a little busy. I got engaged, started a business and decided to take a shot at starting my own religion. Wasn't true, the last part, but the rest is true. Despite my lack of time, I missed writing for D*I*Y Planner so when Doug asked me to start writing again, I was glad to accept. That, and I wanted my cat back. Come on Doug, a deal's a deal.

I thought I'd talk today about an experience I had recently, a warning to all to keep your cell phones charged. I was supposed to have a coffee meeting with a digital animator named Francisco. I live in Vancouver, B.C. and, through careful legislation and oversight, the government has made certain that you are never more than 50 feet from a coffee shop. Needless to say, saying that you're having a coffee meeting in Vancouver is redundant, like saying you're playing ice hockey. It's just understood. They recently announced an emergency plan, in case the big earthquake finally hits, to bring in the army to keep Starbucks open. "YES SIR, DOUBLE TALL, DOUBLE SHOT, NO FOAM, EXTRA WHIP, GRANDE LATTE, SIR!!" Actually, that wouldn't be so different from how they run Starbucks now. But I digress.

Quick Tip: The Stress Reducing Power of Ticklers

Never underestimate the stress-reducing power of a tickler. If you don't need to think about doing a particular task now, you don't need to see it now. You also don't need to worry about remembering to do it in a few weeks time. (The stress that results from worrying about forgetting is greater than most believe.) If you have a digital system, put it in your calendar or a future task. If you have a paper system, put it in a tickler folder (a la GTD) or mark it in your planner in a future action list or calendar day. Have confidence that your trusted system will remember it for you.

Free Giveaway from Renaissance Art

Our friends at Renaissance Art are doing weekly giveaways. This week's item happens to be especially droolworthy.

Leave a comment to THIS POST to enter your name for the random drawing. You could be the owner of a prototype of one of their new discbound cover lines. This cranberry red leather cover fits a 8.5" X 5.5", 3/4" disc discbound notebook. It has 2 extra interior pockets and a pen loop. The link also has a picture of the prize, so be sure to go read and check it out.

Arthur has this to say about the new covers:

The new line will be fun, innovative and while elegant, not the same ole corporate looking stuff everyone else is carrying. PLUS... it is made right here in our Santa Fe, NM studios and not at some overseas factory in China. So, you know the quality will be superior and...since we make everything to order you will be able to TWEAK it.

Quick Tip: Keep Your Computer Files Decluttered

Today's Quick Tip features a two-for-one suggestion from Doug and innowen.

Are you a computer pack-rat, with a tonne of files cluttering your computer's desktop? Afraid to delete them because you might need them later?

Doug recommends: On the first of every month, move the files you need into the correct directories. Anything that's left, put them into a directory named "Driftwood March 2009" (or somesuch). Create a new one every month. Delete them once they're a year old, since you'll likely never need their contents again.

innowen recommends: Create an "inbox" on your desktop and put files that you download/accumulate from the internet here. Then, once a week (or follow Doug's advice above) go through all the files and sort them into permanent homes or trash them.

New Office Max [In]Place System by Peter Walsh Review

Editor's Note: Promoting this to the front page because I think this is a great review. Thanks for putting it together, leicamaster.

Recently organization expert Peter Walsh released a new line of products for Office Max which I found out about in a recent topic here in the DIY Planner forums. I got hooked with the nice flashy web page. I decided to head down to Office Max. They had all the products except file tote which for some reason hasn't arrived at any Office Max store , at least not in NC. So anyhow I headed down to check out these products. I really like the system of organization that he decides to use. Post its etc... The products themselves are good quality for plastic. These products actually work as a system and what they really are is individual products brought together to work. I bought the starter set, magazine file, post it wallet 6 and 3, some folders, and rubberized binder clips. Ill be reviewing every product that I own and I have just recently ordered File Tote so Ill post a comment reviewing that.

Quick Tip: Index Card Inboxes

Carry a day planner but find that "inbox" pages typically only get a few lines of notes before you transfer them into another place, thereby wasting most of your paper and space? Carry a dozen index cards packed into your front cover or a slash pocket. Or, if you have a notebook with stiff covers, purchase a set of adhesive "business card pockets" and attach one inside a cover: they're the perfect size for holding 6-8 index cards. They can be used anywhere you'd like to keep a small stack handy --try attaching one to a large fridge magnet, and you can keep one handy for grocery lists, notes to your spouse, and so on.

Sometimes you get a little thirsty.

Well Maiden, Dover Collection

"When the well's dry, we know the worth of water." - Benjamin Franklin

I used to store a lot of my articles-in-progress in Google Docs so I could work on them from any computer, but lately I've migrated most of them into regular ole' text files that sync amongst all my laptops using Dropbox (even my Linux boxes). That way I can edit HTML text in Emacs or TextMate, keep graphics and photos handy, and easily organize them in a logical directory structure. The system is working quite well, but it assumes that I have a decent memory for all those things that came before. (I don't. This is why I write things down.)

I was working on a rather involved article this long weekend. Despite my exhaustion at the time and the complexity of its structure, the words and the shaping of the concepts came quite freely. So much so, that I was feeling quite proud of myself. I was about three-quarters of the way through the rough draft when I said out loud, "This is going unbelievably well. It's almost like I wrote it before...." I paused. I thought about what I just....

Well... erm... that is... *cough*.

What I wrote was basically a carbon-copy of my old Simpleton and the Grail post from my much-fallow a million monkeys typing blog. In my defense, it was four years ago, and it didn't show up in my DIYPlanner.com search.

But the experience begs a question: am I just recycling myself? I know that some of us here tend to drift towards the same themes again and again (a lament I've heard Merlin bemoan on several occasions), and maybe those well-travelled paths form ruts that allow the carriage-driver to fall asleep at the reins, knowing that the horse knows the way. Sometimes it's hard to keep up the energy needed to spend a few hours writing when the scenery is the same.

To that end, I'm looking for ideas. What sort of articles would you like to see here on DIYPlanner? What reviews, what techniques, what products, what angles should we pursue?

Please tell us what you'd like to see, no matter how small, how grandiose, how wacky, how insignificant, or how out-of-place it might seem. Let's refill the well of our inspiration. Leave us your ideas.

Review of pocket Moleskine-alike notebooks

I promised this a while back in various posts. It's not a scientific comparison by any means, just one notebook-lover's (paperphile's?) views on three notebooks. I was quite surprised by my findings.

In a bid to find a better notebook to slot into my Renaissance Arts Moleskine cover, I ordered two potential substitutes, both available in Europe (I'm in the UK) and both with decent reviews elsewhere on the web. They're almost identical in size.

They are:

The Rhodia Web notebook, which I bought from www.thewritingdesk.co.uk for £5.05 plus postage.

and the Cartesio pocket notebook, which I got from www.thejournalshop.co.uk for £8.99 plus postage

then there's the Moleskine pocket ruled notebook is approximately £9.95 though usually on offer somewhere like www.waterstones.com where it's currently £6.64.

A Peek in the Pack

Day Runner + D*I*Y Planner

So, a few people have emailed me about my current productivity tools. They want to know if I'm using Circa, if I've given up on fountain pens, if I ever use software, and so on. One even deduced that the reason for my absence from DIYPlanner was because I had crossed from analog completely into the digital world. The latter is certainly not the case, and my forays into the land o' ones and zeroes have typically resulted in my throwing up my hands in frustration, wondering how some people live without paper. (Keep in mind I'm an IT professional and gadget freak, so I don't say this lightly.)

So, read on for a little summary of my daily gear at the moment....