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hPDA Edition Status Report

A very short post today, as I have a teetering pile o' work before me, including some design. Which brings me to this little status report concerning the new Hipster PDA Edition. You'll have to forgive me if this seems rather rough-hewn and hurried -- it is, as am I.

Oscar Wilde once wrote, "I can resist everything except temptation," and yet resist I must. So many great suggestions have come my way, and there's so many designs in the Classic edition that may serve as further basis for hPDA cards, that it's difficult to sift through all the ideas and come to a solid list for the hPDA v3.

There are obviously a number of revisions for the existing cards, to bring them up to v3 design snuff, and to make them a little more flexible and "organisationally agnostic". Then, there are allowances for different parts of the world and different ways of tracking time. And of course, there are the cards already completed as add-ons, such as the Plot Pack and the Satellite Action Cards. And then there's a couple hundred Classic forms that could be useful if somehow massaged into hPDA format.

The Path To Communication: How They Did It In My Day

Father TimeAn older gentleman of my acquaintance has given me a different perspective on communication. I am a relatively young person, which is to say I am young enough to be idealistic and too old to be automatically excused by the authorities for driving a stolen forklift through an art museum. Being in this particular demographic category, I don't find technology terribly frightening, but I recognize that many people, specifically older people, have difficulty utilizing technology, and specifically for communication. It's merely a conceptual difference, one that shouldn't be difficult to overcome, but which should provide us with around five or six hundred words.

Quick Tips: 5 New Uses for the Actions Quadrant Template

Continuing with my Quick Tips series, I'm going to cook up 5 new ways of using the Actions Quadrant (Classic v3.0) template. Those of you who want to follow me can get the card from the D*I*Y Planner Templates Core Package. I picked this template because it seemed like a good challenge. It’s quad grid seems best suited to conquer and divide tasks and projects into smaller and more manageable chunks.

However, with a little bit of imagination you can use the form to become:

A decision making tool. The Actions Quadrant template makes a perfect decision making tool. Use this form when you’re faced with complex decisions that have multiple choice solutions, each with their own set of consequences. Write down the situation in the box provided just under the grayscale line and then create 4 different scenarios and a list of results of taking those actions. For example, let’s say you’re considering a career change. Write down something like “What would be my life if I was doing something different?” in the box above and then list 4 different options in the Quadrant title boxes. Like, Artist, Writer, Astronaut, Retail. Then use the remaining checkboxes to brainstorm ideas on how your life would be like and all the advantages and disadvantages to being in that career. Once you’ve filled out the form, you’ve got some ideas on what may be the best decision to make. Who knows, you might be surprised at the perspective it gives you.

Multi-store Purchases tracker. Use this form to keep a small track of items you want to purchase at the store or multiple stores. If you’re like me, you may go out for the day, and end up going to multiple stores instead of that heavenly all-in-one place. Use this form to write down a quick list of all the items you need at 4 places. That way, you have a nice single list of what you need for all your places. As an added bonus, you don’t have to worry about losing 4 different lists!

Episode Guide. Okay, this may seem weird, but I know a lot of people who like to track episodes of their favorite television series. You could print out a whole bunch of these templates and create a whole history of your favorite t.v. program, episode by episode. Record episode summaries and notes, star information, and bloopers for 4 shows on one card. When you’re done, why not bind the sheets together, making a handy reference book. Of course, you don’t have to stop at episodes. You could also do the same with your favorite books, chapter by chapter; or favorite music groups and their discography.

Student Class Planner. When I was in Jr. and Senior High School, I found that planning my classes for the year was a lot harder than it seemed. Not only did you have to pick each class (and make sure you got the "favorite" teacher) but you also had to make sure that you didn’t double up and get in 2 different classes at the same time. Students can use this card to plan out each quarter of their school year by listing each quarter at the top and then writing down the list of classes, teachers and times in the check lists.

Student Homework Tracker Students can use this form once again to help their studies. Use this form to track track book homework assignments by chapter and use the check list to track any questions or notes you have regarding the text. You can also use this form to summarize main points and test objectives when studying for that next exam or quiz.

This has been my Quick Tips creative re-visioning of the Actions Quadrant template. Do you have any other suggestions for how this D*I*Y Planner template can be used? Feel free to post your ideas below.

How to Be Productive and Creative: Fitting In To Your Company

My picture nameWe all want to be productive and creative, but it isn’t always easy. One big reason is that if we are working in a company which doesn't complement our personality, unless we can work out an accommodation, we become frustrated and discouraged -- a square peg in a round hole.

If we're a judging type person (dedicated to making decisions based on our values or logic), we like to get things settled, even if the results are a little sketchy. If we're working in a perceptive company (which likes to look at all the options before it leaps, taking in more information in a practical or imaginative way), we'll likely have a problem. The shape of the problem is that there's nothing wrong with the company, but it gets on our nerves because we'll likely be continually frustrated by the lack of decisiveness and firmness in the system.

Living in Harmony

Harmony CardLiving a balanced life is a hard thing nowadays. Between plowing throught the stacks atop our desks, responding to urgent requests for meetings, and spending goodly amounts of time commuting to and fro, it's difficult to keep track of the big picture, allocating enough of our energies to those non-work issues which are truly meaningful to us. Spending time with family, reminding oneself of exercise, and seeking ways to replenish our inner selves -- all these get lost as we plunge head-first into our action lists.

We need to reach an equilibrium, figure a way to allow all of the various facets of our lives to work together. This is the purpose of the Harmony form. (Yes, Hipster PDA fans... there's some shiny new cards ready to download below.)

Historical Lessons: Viking Productivity

My picture nameGreetings all. In another life, before I made the shrewd career move of becoming a starving artist, I took a history degree and I always take pleasure in pointing out lessons from history which can help us in our modern day-to-day living, and such is the case today. It seems to me that many managers these days lack the necessary focus and drive to command the respect of their underlings and to effectively get things done. Looking back through history, the people who stick out as the real doers, the guys who really got things done, are, of course, the Vikings. I know. You were just thinking the same thing yourself.

Art, the Muse, and a Room

I’ve been thinking a lot about spaces lately. Like what goes into them and what we do with them. Sacred spaces, places that hold a special meaning to ourselves. Spaces like my studio. And my home. When I moved into my home 6 years ago, I gave my house a name: The Perch. It’s my sanctuary. I converted one room over to my artistic studio. My computer desk sits in one corner; Smudge, my Apple powerbook rests on top of it along with a few candles. My workbench is on the opposite wall, where the closet used to be. It's pretty chaotic at the moment. Bottles of Luminere paints and paper and stamps and pens litter the surface. I'm an artist and writer and when I want to be creative, I head into this room. However, I'm also very spiritual. For me, there is no separation between my daily activities and my spiritual life. The two intertwine. And that holds especially true when applied to my art.

Because I see a connection between making art and spirituality, this room transforms from just an ordinary room to something special. It's my altar where my pens and brushes and ideas in my mind mix and merge to form something tangible. The Studio is my sacred space. Like I said, sacred space is a physical or mental place that holds a special meaning or has a specific purpose to you. Mostly what's considered sacred is a feeling we get when we enter a spot that holds great importance to us. And that’s exactly what my studio’s purpose is... a special place where I can write, make art and express myself.

Mead RingDex: Instant Hipster PDA For Two Bucks

Our guest poster today, Garry Ray, is a former technology editor for PC Week (now eWeek), and has written for a score of publications including Computerworld, PC Computing and The Washington Post. He currently works in the computer security field, and has a latent attraction to office supplies.

One ironic thing I've been noticing is that us GTD and Hipster PDA newbies spend an awful lot of time cruising office supply stores and web sites looking for hacks and improvements to our new organized and efficient analog tools.

So it was no surprise that one of my "Next Actions, context @Shopping" last week was "Get binder rings, Office Depot." I wanted to go upscale from the Hipster's elemental index cards plus binder-clip deck, to the niftier ring-bound version, and if luck was with me, to spot whatever else seemed cool from the DIYPlanner.com posts and the huge Flickr montage of Hipster PDA photos.

After finally locating a box of 20 assorted binder rings in Office Depot's "Staples & Paper Clips" aisle ($2.99, and I needed only one of the 20 rings), I ambled over to the index cards section of the store. And there was precisely what you might expect: the standard 500-packs of white cards and colored cards; 100 packs; boxy archival files; and the rest. Stuff that really doesn't add to Hipster creativity.

Then I spotted two rummaged boxes of something I'd never seen anywhere before: bundles of shrink-wrapped index cards with the ring binders already attached. Huh? What's this?

Mead RingDex

It turns out to be the Mead RingDex, the closest thing I've ever seen to a ready-made and instant Hipster PDA.

Let's Do Lunch!

Coordinate lunch time with this handy template for offices and laboratories.

Usage advice: 

Lunch time is one of the best times to chat about interesting ideas and get to know your colleagues. Interdisciplinary research is born when people rub elbows, and innovative ideas can emerge from lunch-time conversations and scribbled-on table napkins. Get together with your coworkers today!

Print out and laminate this lunch coordinator, then stick it on your refrigerator or whiteboard together with a dry-erase marker. Suggest some times and encourage people to write in their names and the time they plan to head out, heat up their lunch, or call for takeout.

Paper size: 
Creative Commons
Applications required: 
PDF Reader (Adobe Reader, Mac OS X Preview)