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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!

That Sync'ing Feeling

You know the situation. You might have a Classic-sized planner stuffed with D*I*Y Planner templates. You tote a Hipster PDA in your guidebag or purse. Somewhere, there's a Palm you sync with Outlook, online calendars or Palm Desktop. Then there's the array of Post-Its cluttering your monitor, the stack of index cards by the phone, a Moleskine yearning to be used, a notebook you tote to meetings, and so on. Slowly, as you come across neat ideas to boost your productivity, you take on more and more ways of doing things, your system begins to fracture, and your trusted system erodes. And the single most important plea, among all the lone voices crying in the night? -- "How do I make it all work together? How do I 'sync'?"

I've going to have a whirl here at addressing one of the most commonly asked questions posed of me in the past couple of years: how does one "synchronise" information between different sources, if you're going analog? In other words, how do you keep all your information up-to-date, whenever and wherever you need it, and still have it reliable enough to be trustworthy?

SquirrelMan, The Organizational Superhero

My picture nameOkay, so I was watching the new Batman movie the other day and it inspired me with a terrific idea (sound of people taking cover). The idea in the movie is that Batman is not a man, but a symbol, and not an individual, but a primordial force, something feared by everyone on a near-subconscious level, an incorruptable elemental force for justice, and this gives him his crime-fighting power. This got me to thinking about getting things done at the office and whether the same principle, the Batman Factor you might call it, might be applied to office organization as well.

Of course, walking around the office dressed like Batman would be just plain crazy. No one would take you seriously walking around dressed as a bat in Accounts Receivable. No, I realised that if this is going to work, it needs to be an animal known for hard work, forethought and stick-to-it-iveness, an animal which strategically plans ahead and proactively initiates, that does what needs to be done. Then it hit me: Squirrelman!

Keeping Track of Character Traits

When I am not trying to come up with good articles and creative tips to share with you here at D*I*Y Planner I’m playing RPG games. I’m not talking about computer games; although I do play quite a bit of World of Warcraft. I’m currently involved in two different pen and paper and dice games. One is traditional Dungeons & Dragons, set in the world of Eberron; and the other is a White Wolf Mage game, set in our world. What does playing games have to do with productivity and planners?

Amazingly, a lot.

DIY Book Press

I generally don't do things like this, but the article that Hamish wrote and linked below impressed the heck out of me. - DJ

I've been lurking on the DIY Planner site for a few months now. Thanks to all the contributors for the great ideas and resources.

There have been some articles here about bookbinding, so I thought I'd flag up an article I wrote that went live today on the NoMediaKings website. It's called "DIY Book Press", and it's about how I've learnt to publish my own books from home.

In it, I talk about offset printing, the much-hyped Print-on-Demand, and also describe in depth the process I now use to make hardcover and paperback versions of my books.

If you're interested, you can read it here:

Just giving something back!


Hipster PDA Budget

Three-column table for keeping track of projected expenses and remaining budget

Usage advice: 

You can use this to keep track of your budget: how much you've set aside and how much is left. Start by writing your total monthly income on the first row. You can use a pen to write your fixed expenses such as rent, but a pencil is better for writing variable expenses. Fill in the amount left so that you can avoid going over your budget. Update this card at the end of the day when you go through the receipts in your inbox. You can use the back of the card to keep track of transactions without receipts.

Paper size: 
Index Card (3 x 5)
Creative Commons
Applications required: 
PNG displayer (browser, etc)

Fortune Magazine: Getting out from under

There's an article by Ellen McGirt called Getting out from under appearing beneath the Fortune banner at the CNN news site. The subtitle reads, "Beset by interruptions, information overload, and irksome technology, knowledge workers need help. A survival guide." To quote:

Today the guru with the most buzz is David Allen of Getting Things Done fame, but there's plenty of work to go around. There is even a largely open-source "DIY Planner" site offering advice and free printable day planners online--retro technology delivered in a shiny new way.

Hmmm. Wonder who that could be...?

Big thanks go to Rick over at DavidCo for the heads-up!

Gratuitous Linkage: A Study in Sherlock

Well, some of you oldtimers may have noticed that I haven't been as omnipresent on this site as I usually am. The reason is two-fold. First, I was rather burnt out by the D*I*Y Planner 3.0 release, and needed a little space to recuperate before tackling the Hipster PDA version. And second, I've been working on a new blog, one that follows a lifelong passion of mine, and one not at all related to productivity.

A Study in SherlockAnd so, I'll like to extend a special invite to you dear folks who have been so supportive of my ramblings and side projects: A Study in Sherlock is a site is devoted to the life, times and influence of the Great Detective himself, perhaps the most famous fictional character in history.

Each weekday will bring new posts, and these include original pieces (many of which are written for newcomers), photographs, teasers for the stories of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, illustrations, news stories, book reviews, audio snippets, "workshop" projects (such as do-it-yourself reference cards or CDs), radio plays, and featured sites. Most of these entries are selected to offer something for neophytes, but --hopefully-- also provide ample occasion for discourse amongst more experienced Sherlockians. I hope you enjoy.

And, hey, who wouldn't want a nice sepia-coloured reference card of Holmes stories for their Hipster...? ;-)

Hipster PDA Templates: A Final Call

Well, you've all had a bit of time to digest the new D*I*Y Planner 3.0 Classic version, and if you have a keen eye, you'll probably note that the designs took into consideration many of the requests for the hPDA templates as well. The DiyP3 classic size being the reference version, I thought I'd open this thread for discussion, and see what templates in particular you'd like to see make the final cut for the hPDA pack. Keep in mind that this will be a subset of the classic version --it's a little insane to try to fit some 200 templates of the size and variety of the classic pack to index cards-- and I'd like to keep the number of cards down to those that are most useful, most in demand, and most flexible.

The floor is now open: what templates found in the classic version would you like to see in the Hipster PDA pack? Please be exact -- for example, if there's a particular Day Keeper you want, mention the full name (e.g., Day Keeper 24M). Remember, time's a-tickin', so get those requests in now.

Catastrophic Organization

My picture nameGreetings all. Well, I've given up. I am completely, hopelessly, utterly without the ability to organize, to plan, to prioritize. In this department I am without hope, beyond recall, just screwed up. Sorry, I'm teaching English as a Second Language, so I seem to be giving three synonyms for everything these days. Can't help it, nothing I can do, fuggetaboutit! Anyway, I can't organize, but I can innovate. I figure if I can't actually get things done, at least I can make not getting things done sound better. I'm going to break out the euphemisms. My model, of course: The military and big business.