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Mac Meltdown


Greetings! Well, I guess I have to eat crow. I've bragged about how good my Mac is for years, but I finally had a problem. Now, to be fair, my Macs have held up remarkably well. My first Mac laptop lasted for over five years before it died and that was only because I poured a Pepsi in it by accident. So I thought that my new Mac Powerbook would last almost until the cosmos implodes back in on itself. It seemed reasonable, given my history with them. But this time...well, you'll see.

I was having some trouble connecting to the internet and I was playing Slap In The Face. You know, when you phone one tech support person and they can't solve your problem and they get tired of trying, so they suggest that maybe it's somebody else's fault, slap you in the face and run away giggling. It's their favorite game. It goes like this:

Ahhh, the dreaded inbox…..

My biggest problem in staying and being organized is the multitude of information that is thrown at me throughout the day. Emails (work & home), voice mails (work & home), meetings, chats with the boss, employees with favors, notes to remember the milk on the way home, etc, etc, etc.

How am I supposed to handle all of this information coming at me? What is the simple solution so that I am always prepared to “file” the note wherever the note needs to go or process the action at the correct day and time?

Well, I guess I'd say that this is what is in my INBOX. Not just the inbox in your email application, but LIFE’S INBOX. Some people have an actual tray on their desk where they write a note on an index card and throw it in the box to be processed at some designated time. Others have a section in their planner called the inbox where all notes are taken and then sorted later (see a great article on inboxes by our very own Doug Johnston). Another inbox idea I've used is that neat little accordion folder at the back of Moleskines.

For me, my inbox is all over the place – which is problem #1. The refrigerator, the kitchen counter by the back door, my wallet, my purse, the tray on my desk and a notepad I scribble on at work.

A simple solution to all of this influx of “things to do”? Well, I refer you back to our fearless leader: “The trick is in dancing the capture and empty two-step.” – Doug Johnston

Once you capture the information, however you decide to do that, you need to then empty that information into your planning system. Maybe you decide the last 15 minutes of the workday you will spend going through your inbox and calendar and plan out the evening and the next work day. This is Problem #2 for me. I might capture the info, but I forget where I put it, so how am I supposed to empty it?

So, the reason for this post? I need input. How do you all handle all the information in your life? Do you use an inbox? What is it like? Do you have one at home and one at work? Do you carry a hipster to gather info? What do you carry while walking around the office or running errands? When do you empty your inbox?

Share your inbox set up with us. Let’s keep trying to make it SIMPLE!

nay nay

Forum Topic: Ideas on how to organize my planner please.

I am a 30 year old, mother, wife and fulltime student again. I like most here have been obsessed with planners and other office supplies for as long as I can remember. I found my perfect system, circa, although I am unsure how to set up my planner topics. Right now I have my calendar part, a to do now list and a school list. I just feel like it is not working and all I am doing is wasting my time and paper. So how do I get it organized in such a way that it is productive. I am interested in the way others set it up and organize theirs by topic and what topics are used. I have tried to read books on organization and procrastination although it seems to go right through me and not get fully processed in my head. So basically I have this great planner and no good way to use it. Ideas would be wonderful!

Did someone mention Jott.com?

My new goal in life is to S.I.M.P.L.I.F.Y! I have too much stuff in a pretty small house and cannot find anything when I need it. I figure that anything I can do to help simplify my life may also benefit you – my D*I*Y friends. So, my stories and posts are hopefully going to be filled with simple yet effective tools for you to use in your everyday life (if you so choose!).

I figured since someone had mentioned Jott.com in my last post, I would begin here.

Jott.com... A FREE service that converts your voice into emails, text messages, reminders, lists and appointments. Their Tag Line: “Get Simple Back.” Love it!

introducing me: the next planner and notebook addict

One of the best things about this site is the fact that no one here thinks you weird if you tell how many empty notebooks you have (about twenty), or how many planners you bought this year (three) or that you like to write with fountain pens (one of the five I have). This surprises none of you I guess. In my fist post as a new writer I want to tell you some things about me, and where I stand planner-wise.

I am a girl, 25 years old, a mathematician and living in the Netherlands. And I have always like paper and pens and stationery. I have been using a planner ever since it was first subscribed by our school teacher when I was 10. These planners have been just simple bound books with a week in one view. This was good, but then I discovered the existence of Filofax and Succes, and later Moleskine. Here my obsession began, and I have been switching around an buying too many planners until now.

Of course swithcing around isn't all bad. It does indeed cost a lot of money, and it wastes time. But it is a lot of fun playing around, and browsing in stores and looking at websites. But I find that I want to settle, to make it simple so that I can free up my mind for the things I want to do. So I try to stick with my personal size filofax, and an A4 notebook. We will see how it goes...

So what will I write about? I have some pens and notebooks to review, and a very good productivity book. And I have some ideas about simplifying I might get ready to share with you. Hope you will all enjoy.

Ubiquitous Capture Tools from JugglingFrogs.com

I was recently introduced to a web site (through another web site) that I found very intriguing, so, of course, I wanted to share it will all of my D*I*Y Planner Friends!

The site is called jugglingfrogs.com and is produced by a woman named Carolyn. She is the mother of five and I believe she's the most organized and efficient woman! Her site is full of inventions, hacks, and many tutorials. Everything from making your own cookie cutter to my favorite which is what I'm going to discuss next.

What's your current work setup?

Levenger FolioSo, I'm addicted to writing and productivity gear. That's part of the reason for this site. I'm constantly trying new notebooks, new covers, new pens, new techniques, new calendars, new journals, new planners. And [cue Steward Smiley self-aware gander into mirror] "that's okay." I have fun, and no one gets hurt. I just make sure my monthly schedule never goes out of sync, since I'm careful to note my appointments and urgent lists in multiple places (iCal/Google Calendar/Backpack and my paper planner). I learned long ago that as long as nothing important slipped through the cracks, I could play to my heart's content. And, since I love to tinker, I do.

But occasionally I notice trends. For example, there's a strange "divergence" happening between my work and my creative gear.

As could be expected, my work gear is definitely more professional --I work in marketing/communications in my day job, so image can certainly be important-- and through my many trials it's more or less solidified into a Circa-based planner based somewhat upon the layout I mentioned in this post, heavily GTD-influenced. What's key to the setup?

  • Reliability: My monthly calendar is "synced" every Friday afternoon with my digital one, and periodically during the week. The pen and pencil I currently use for it, a Lamy 2000 fountain pen (with Noodler's Polar Black ink to prevent from freezing) and a Lamy 2000 0.7mm mechanical pencil, never fail me. All my current project dockets are listed, and all my recent notes are present in the Inbox section.
  • Omnipresence: I always have it handy. If I'm doing work-related things, it's either in my hand or five seconds away.
  • Portability: I have a 17" MacBook Pro at work. It's a great computer for my job, and I love it. But it's not exactly easy to tote around. While my planner isn't exactly light, it's less than half the weight and size, and the zip-around closure keeps out the sub-arctic weather.
  • Flexibility: I keep a lot of spare paper and forms in the planner, and the disc-enabled shuffling of sheets of different sizes and shapes makes it easy to re-arrange things on the fly. Plus, I can mix figures with text with doodles with diagrams all on the same page, with an ease that computers still don't facilitate (but rather emulate). Add a selection of DiyP index cards in the card slots, and I'm all set for almost anything.

In a little while, I'll post about my current home/creative setup. [Update: see What's your personal kit?.]

In the meantime, what's your current planner setup for work, and why?

Forum Post and Link Resource: Pen Addiction?

I stumbled onto this today... Pen Addicton

He reviews, shows writing samples and images of all the pens. He even links to other pen related sites n things of interest :D

Forum Topic: On top of your game

Hey! Does anyone out there feel that they have a near-ideal system that maybe has worked for them for a long (or short) time? This ideal system makes you feel on top of things most of the time and you may even be secretly (or publicly) quite proud of it and yourself? How does it work for you? Details please. OR.....maybe you have one that sucks raw eggs. Let's hear about that also. thanks.