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D*I*Y Planner Hipster Edition v3

Springtime Reduces Productivity

It is upon us. Officially. It has arrived. That time when young men's thoughts drift quickly away from the quarterly sales reports. That's right, it's Springtime, the time of the year that's absolutely terrible for productivity. At least in Canada.

Wait, I'm not making any sense. Let me go back and start again. I'm rather distracted lately, since it's Springtime, you see. In Northern climates, such as the one in which I live, one Canada by name, Springtime is a big deal. We've just made it through a Winter lasting approximately 9000 years and when the sun finally comes out, most of us feel like weeping for joy. But it's bad for productivity.

Using a Personal Analog Device

I use a bit of a hybrid between paper-based planning systems and their digital equivalents. One strong component of this system, however, is my personal analog device (my PAD). I learned long ago that a computer-based PDA was too restrictive, too clunky, and generally not as useful to me as a simple 85 cent pad of paper and a smooth flowing pen. You might recall the post about The Notebook. Consider this a follow-on.

Let me quickly sketch for you the infromation model that I'm working from, and then we can drill into the details. My personal model for accomplishing things in a given day requires the following: upstream planning and mechanisms, downstream execution and management, and ground-level data capture and transfer. This post will focus on capturing data in a useful way, but I'll spend another quick moment on the concepts I mentioned in my system.

Journalling Prompts: Resources for those days when the blank page bites back

Journal writing can be hard. The blank page sits ready, teasing you and your pen. A million and one thoughts swirl around in your head and you can't settle on just one thought or idea. And as soon as the best idea one does float into your mind, you start to worry about whether or not you can get it down and how that will all look on the finished page of your journal. Or perhaps maybe you never get an idea at all, so your page sits blank once more, awaiting the muse. Sometimes it's easier to not write than it is to write at all with all this pressure.

Fortunately, for those times when you feel the pressure, or can't think of a single thing to write about there are prompts. These small snippets of thoughts or questions or pictures help assist you in getting out of the writer's funk and into the writing process. Strangely, collecting prompts can also be addicting... so this week I've decided to share with you a few online and offline resources where you can get some quick fix inspiration to get you writing in your planners as well as meet some groups who are also journalling right along with you.

A Call for a New Writer

It is with a heavy heart that I must relate our latest misfortune: I'm afraid our dear Sacha is feeling the scope of her studies weighing mightily upon her shoulders, and is finding it increasingly difficult to produce timely and fresh articles for our "productivity Tuesday." However, beyond every setback lies opportunity, and after every departure comes an arrival. And so it's time to sound the horn and issue the call for a new writer to join our ranks.

Read on if you think you have what it takes....

The Epic Tale of Ivanhoe the Cat

Kitten on phone (humor-day.com)Fresh out of university a decade or so ago, I was fresh-faced and eager to explore the seemingly limitless opportunities afforded to me through my career choice as a high school English teacher. Unfortunately, I soon learned that such jobs were exceedingly rare in my province (even more so nowadays), and so it was with a great sense of surprise that I landed a half-time position in a community about an hour outside of town. Of course, I seized upon the opportunity, but found myself in dire straights immediately. I was now expected to find lodgings I could afford, which worked out to a mere three hundred a month after a minimal grocery and utility budget was extracted from my meagre paycheque.

Now, by sheer coincidence, another young teacher --let's call him Joe Smith-- was hired the same day, and it turned out that I had met him briefly at a mutual friend's house a month before. Not only that, but he was looking for someone to split the cost of a house rental in the area. That evening, I moved in the essentials (bed, computer and books), and began the adjustment to my new job and surroundings. And to Joe.

He was cat-like in his habits. He was exceptionally tidy, spent an hour a day grooming himself, loved sports and games, and enjoyed prowling about the town like a tomcat in the evenings. And he had one other feline trait: he would do anything and everything he could get away with.

To Plan Or Not To Plan

William SkakespeareGreetings, Steve here. We've got a problem, boys and girls. Despite the concerted efforts of everyone on this site and all of its evangelical supporters, people just aren't taking paper-based planning seriously. I mean, they think it's okay, but paper-based planning hasn't permeated the culture in the same way as the Internet, or buffalo wings. People kind of don't get it. Writing things down? Doesn't sound that impressive. What I mean to say is, paper-based planning is not on everyone's lips. I think what we need is to get some culture on this site, to help make paper-based planning a topic the average person would be proud to bring up in polite company, like at a dinner party. With the Queen. Or something.

So, to that end, I present my interpretation of what William Shakespeare would have thought of paper-based planning. Let me know what you think. (People have been telling me for a long time that I'm weird. I'm starting to believe them.)

Workplace Spirituality: Finding Happiness in a 9-to-5 Job

Spring is here, the weather outside grows warmer and the world blossoms and deepens in green. Instead of being outside, tending to the wild forest that has overtaken my backyard, or hiking in the hills, I’m inside, working; building rapport at my new job at a company who’s giving me work I love to do. Once again I am working hard and trying to find the balance between my work-life and “home” life. Productivity (getting things done) has always been one of my main strengths at a company. However, I usually go overboard, shoving aside the other side of my life, my spirituality. Disconnecting myself from what I want to do, believe in and value and letting others define who I am.

We spend so much time at work: inventing new processes and creating new toys to make us more useful that sometimes our core values and beliefs get lost amongst the paperwork and email. We forget to take a break and remember what our true purpose is and sometimes that we are allowed to enjoy what we call “work”. We dissociate ourselves from our spirit and passions. We become cogs in the machine. Of course, I disbelieve that this has to happen. I like to think that we can strike a balance between having a spiritual self and a 9-to-5 job. I think that spirituality in the workplace is attainable and that people can enjoy and have fun in their work-life.

Feedback Request: DiyP3 hPDA Folding Cover

hPDA3 Cover PrototypeThank you for all the great feedback regarding cover designs (both online and off). I was able to take a number of the suggestions, combine them with what I already had, and come up with a prototype folding pattern. I'd ask anyone who has an interest in such things to download the PDF template below and give it a whirl.

This new design has an optional folding half-pocket (see top left), which could be cut half-height or half-width, depending on your taste. The top black flap is meant to be folded over and glued or taped to keep the pocket in place.

The long grey strip at right is an optional extension for those people using the forthcoming tabbed cards, so the tabs are somewhat protected in a pocket or bag. Obviously, this strip can be cut off, as well as the folding pocket, if they don't suit your personal style or usage.

Please read on, for some printing notes and the download.