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Mindmapping Papers

My reading course paper is due at the end of the week, and I'm panicking. Somehow or another, I need to read some 200 research papers and digest them into a clear and coherent review of related literature.

There's no way I can do that on a computer. I just don't have enough screen space to keep everything visible, and I don't have enough brain space to see how everything's related to everything else.

Mind maps to the rescue.

Ideas for Hipster Covers?

Users of the Hipster PDA, please put on your thinking caps.

In the new v3 edition, I'd like to include a few different types of covers.

One will be the standard title/owner card, which people seem to like backing with the GTD Quick Reference Card.

There will also be two fold-over variants -- one has a picture on one outside surface and a title on the other, and one has a title on one side and a yearly calendar on the other. These will have a little optional rim on one side for those who will be using the new tabbed divider cards. Included will be a similar OOo template for those who want to lay in their own pictures or surface cards.

Does anybody have any ideas for single-card or folding variants that they'd like to see for their Hipster? Or perhaps you have an entirely different design in mind?

Organizational Divination

How To Be OrganizedSteve here. Welcome to another edition of How to Be Organized. Today's topic: Organizational Divination.

Organizational divination is a cutting-edge technique I have just invented for retieving lost documents. Organizational Divination works only with the category pile system (CPS) discussed in a previous post, gratutitously linked here. CPS works on the general principle that as long as you're going to leave important papers laying around in disorganised piles, you might as well do so in generally categorized piles, such as deal with now, deal with soon, keep around in case of toilet paper shortage, etc. Organizational Divination works on the principle that, as long as you're using CPS, you might as well be flamboyant.

Holding Onto Your Books: DIY Book Leash

I was talking to a friend last week and she casually mentioned that she purchased a new type of bookmark. Normal everyday, run-of-the-mill bookmark apparently are no longer any good for her reading habits. They were weak, got lost easily and never stayed in their place when she put her paperbacks in a bag. Now, I’ve seen new types of bookmarks on the market that claim they can stay in place. Bookmarks you can hang over a corner and those you hang into books like a paperclip; but I've never gotten them to stay. Instead they've slipped off more often and always got lost at the bottom of my backpack.

What makes this new type of bookmark so great? It’s called a Book Bungee and she got it from Levenger. The Book Bungee looks like a normal everyday bookmark but it comes with a strap that you wrap around the outside of the book and over the bookmark so not only does it keep your place but it also protects the pages from getting torn or bent. When I saw this ingenious new idea, I thought about how similar it was to other book closures I have used in the past to keep my art books closed. Being the big Do It Yourselfer and crafty person, I figured out how to create my own Book Leash. In fact, I’m going to share with you how to make two different versions in this article.

What Do You NOT Like About the Hipster PDA Edition?

I really appreciate all the compliments the Hipster PDA Edition has received over the past year or so, I do. And I thank you for the enthusiasm that so many of you have demonstrated, whether on the web or in the boardroom, eagerly spreading the D*I*Y Planner word to colleagues and curious bystanders.

A simple fact of the matter, however, is that it is near impossible to improve a product through kind words alone. Sometimes, one needs to hear about all the things that really don't work, and then take this into consideration for future development. To that end, I'm asking you users out there to voice your opinion.

Call for Hipster PDA Edition Help and Testers


Well, the date for the D*I*Y Planner Hipster PDA Edition v3 release (or DiyP3h, for short ... sorta) is getting closer, and we can certainly use a little help to make this a world-class release. If you're a fan of the non-profit D*I*Y Planner, or specifically the hPDA edition, and you'd like to contribute a little to the project --which, of course, will always be free for individual use-- please read on....

Review: Book Arts by Mary Kaye Seckler

It's been awhile since I've written more about bookbinding or binding techniques. This week I return to my series of bookbinding (which started here and ended here) by giving you a review of one of my favorite bookbinding starter books. There's a lot of good books out there about bookbinding and more are being added to the shelves. If you have the time and desire, I recommend that you go to spend some time at your local bookstore and read through some of the various books. It can take time and some research to discover which book's instructions help you in making your own books.

Ever since I turned from journal connoisseur to journal maker, I've been trying to find those rare books that teach me how to make interesting styles of books without the technical jargon and confusing stereo instructions written in some language requiring babel fish to decode. I prefer reading instructional art books that contain numeric step-by-step instructions and lots of pictures. After reading a few books in the stores on the subject and finding that most of them seemed to be written in that stuffy, old, college text book style with vary little pictures to reference, I was glad to find this little gem. It's called Book Arts, by Mary Kaye Seckler and it's published by Design Originals. If you decide to buy it, I've attached a link for you to purchase it at amazon.com at the bottom of this article.

John Norris: The Fobster

It's always a pleasure to hear from the mad genius of planners who hides under the pseudonym of John Norris. When I first heard of his idea a couple of weeks ago, I was rather skeptical about the latest creature to emerge from his laboratory, but the more I think about it, the more I think he's onto something....


The FobsterFor those of you on the go, a Hipster for your keychain. Keep those thoughts organized and close at hand. It's Spring, lighten your load.

Yet another planner? No... it's smaller.

The Fobster provides the basics of what you might need for short day trips. It allows one to stay organized on those quick jaunts. Attached to your keychain, you won't forget it.

Can a piece of paper a bit bigger than a Fortune Cookie be of much help? Are you kidding? How many tiny scraps of paper do you accumulate already? This puts them all in one place, with additional content and features. Never be at loss for a bit of paper again.

On the Advantages of a Paper Planner

One of the advantages of a paper planner is that it allows you to procrastinate properly. Right, that's an advantage.

The only reason Doug lets me stay on D*I*Y Planner is that I occasionally use or make forms for my fridge. I have to confess that I spend most of my time on my computer, so I use a blog/wiki to keep track of my schedule and my task list. (Shh, heresy!) I publish my TODOs because people actually help me out from time to time, so it's been worth it.

Sharing my TODOs has its disadvantages, though. Sometimes I can't even procrastinate.