Time Management

Stature, the Great Inequaliser?

Some six or seven years ago, while attending an Internet World conference, I experienced an odd lesson, one that --while seemingly innocuous at first-- is now at the core of how I deal with people.

It was at a small pub around the corner from the conference centre where I went to find some orange juice and some air-conditioning. The room was packed, and I was called over to a table by a VP of Marketing for a large tech company, whom I had met the night before. There were four of us seated: the VP, a very tall man like myself, and with a friendly smile and cheerful disposition; a shortish human resources director, whose sharp wit and sarcastic attitude made his presence both enjoyable and insufferable; and a Catholic priest, a webmaster for a number of progressive parishes down south, and whose eyes fixed upon you for just long enough to instill the fear he might be reading your mind.

After fifteen minutes, we still hadn't managed to flag down the single disheveled waitress, who buzzed among the tables, tripped among the out-strewn legs, and clacked beer glasses together among her fingers, four at a time, for rushing back to the crowded bar.

Holiday Planning Set

A set of forms to assist with Holiday planning, including Meal planner, Master Gift List, Holiday Planning Calendar, Weekly task forms, and forms to hold information about Recipients.

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Usage advice: 

The Holiday Planning Calendar is designed to be an overview of which list to use each week leading up to the holiday season. Each year, write in the dates for that year, starting with the last week, the week of New Year's Day. Map the holidays you observe on the calendar. The first week on the chart will generally be the last partial week of October, and the last week will be the first partial week of January.

The six action pages correspond to the large gray words printed on the Calendar. So, the first week, you'll use the "Organize" list, the second week you'll use the "Plan" list, etc. These lists are the to-dos for each of six weeks you do the heavy prep for the holidays. There's room to add extra items if you have different/extra holiday tasks, such as charitable work, religious observances, etc.

The menu planner is a simple sheet for planning the menu of a holiday meal. You can use one or more lines for each dish to make sure you have all the right ingredients on hand. You can also remind yourself whether the dish can be made ahead, and which day you plan to make it. You can post the menu on the fridge on the big day so your helpers can understand the plan, too.

The Master Gift List is one-line-per-person. Include all of the people you plan to buy gifts for, or whose list you're on. There's a spot for writing down what they want, what you want from them (and whether you've given them that idea or not), what you'll actually give them, and whether you've got the item on hand, wrapped, or mailed. If you have a lot of folks to buy for, you can use separate forms for each branch of the family.

The "About Gift Recipients" forms (left- and right-hand pages) record basic information about these individuals' interests, sizes, pets, and any notes you want to record. You'd put on this list long-term info to remember, since the Gift List form has the spot for this year's particular ideas. So, for example, if sister Jane likes to belly dance, you'd record that here--but if she longs for finger cymbals, you'd record that on the Master Gift List.

I made most of the pages fat margin on the left just because it's easy. The source is included if you'd rather have some more right-handed holes. The PDF is in there too.

Paper size: 
Classic (5.5 x 8.5)
License: 
Public Domain
Applications required: 
PDF Reader (Adobe Reader, Mac OS X Preview), OpenOffice.org (to edit the templates)
Language: 
English

Weekly Rainbow w/Check List

Week on left, checklist on right.

Usage advice: 

Print Rainbow Weekly on one side, Check list on the backside. Since I'm right-handed I punch the pages so that the Check list is on the right (where I do most of my writing).

I even made a partial page check list that can be trimmed and inserted when I run out of room on the checklist page. I will up load that separately.

Paper size: 
Classic (5.5 x 8.5)
License: 
Creative Commons
Applications required: 
Word
Language: 
English

Flylady Planner Pages PDF

This is a PDF conversion of the Flylady Pages found at http://www.diyplanner.com/node/572

Usage advice: 

This is a PDF conversion of the Flylady Pages created by ScrapBunny and found at http://www.diyplanner.com/node/572 - you should be able to just print it out in Acrobat.

Paper size: 
Classic (5.5 x 8.5)
License: 
Creative Commons
Applications required: 
PDF Reader (Adobe Reader, Mac OS X Preview)
Language: 
English

ADD Daily Planner

A daily template with 15min segments and a "Preview the Day" & "Review the Day" Parts. This has really helped me manage my ADD.

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Usage advice: 

This is the second "version" of this template that I am posting. I was given this Daily "To Do" page from my ADD coach & I have refined it. It has a "preview" section. Sit down at the beginning of the day and plan what you are about to do. The day is broken down in 15 minute segments to help plan. There are 3 columns, "Personal", "Business", and "Actual", which is pretty self explanatory. At the end of the day there is a "review" section where you critically write down how you day was. This template REALLY helped me. I have added a "earnings matrix" on it because I am in sales and a "Expenses matrix" onto it aswell.
If you have any questions please email me on: mboast@gmail.com and I will try to answer any questions.

Paper size: 
A5
License: 
Creative Commons
Applications required: 
PDF Reader (Adobe Reader, Mac OS X Preview)
Language: 
English

On Multi-Tasking and Self-Improvement

I woke up early this morning to find the ground covered with snow, and little hint of the oncoming dawn. A quick shower, a bagel, and a short dog walk later, and I was hurrying out the door and on my way to work. The -10C wind whippoorwilled the dry flakes against my checks. I bundled my scarf tighter around my neck and pulled my aging fedora down a trifle lower, hunching my shoulders together in an effort to keep warm. I paused near the bus stop, fingered the bus pass in my pocket, and then walked onwards down the main strip. It's a day for self-improvement.

My life lately has been little except waking up, working a long day, taking care of my sons, doing a little bit of work around the house (we're still in the process of setting up after the big move), and then collapsing into bed for a few hours' sleep before waking up again. Rinse and repeat. There seemed to be little time for relaxation, yet alone for something as potentially time-consuming as personal or professional development. A glance at my bookshelves reveals some 30 or 40 books I want to read in the near future, and my someday/maybe lists have been displaced by next action lists so long that I've had to break them apart by priority as well as context. There just isn't enough hours in the day to do anything besides those tasks related to basic obligations. Or is there?

Daily Schedule & Record (Classic)

Dated Daily pages (November 2006) containing a schedule (16 hours), action list, voicemail log, food log, record/notes, and personal notes/journal areas. Includes 1-up and 2-up layouts - source ODG files only, no PDF.

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Usage advice: 

On the left-hand page:

To-dos for the day go in the 'action list'. There's a priority column for determining order/importance, and an EST column for entering how much time you think it will take to perform the task. There's an unlabeled column for recording what you did with it (schedule forward, delegate, done, in progress, etc.).

The schedule isn't labeled with AM/PM, so it would probably work OK for someone on the graveyard shift as well as a day-shifter. It's got 15-minute intervals marked to make it easier to enter meetings, etc.

I enter my voicemail messages received that day in the "Voicemail Log" section. It's freeform so I can record the message on as many lines as required to fit it in. I don't get many voicemails each day, so it's a small section.

The Food Log is for the person trying to control weight--to lose, gain, or otherwise. It's got prompts for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and three snacks, and a small spot to record your weight that day.

On the right-hand page:

A record/notes section with each line individually numbered for easy indexing (a la Covey). There's a column for the item itself as well as a column for owner or due date.

Beneath is a section for Personal Notes/Journal. For myself, I intend to record such wonders as my kids latest developments, how I felt that day, conversations with family & friends, ideas for personal projects/growth, etc.

To use it for any other month than November 2006, open the source and change out the dates in the left-hand page titles.

For the 1-up file: Then print all the dated left pages. Flip your stock in the printer, then print enough copies of the undated right-hand page to cover the backs of all the dated pages.

For the 2-up file: Print half the pages on 8.5x11, then flip and reload in the printer. Print the other half of the pages. Then slice apart and punch. They might even come out in the right order. :) For months with odd days, there's a page at the end of the file that has a double notes/record page so you don't end up with some crazy date on the back of the last page of your month.

Note: to be like Covey, you'd put a 'master task list' on the back of the 1st day of the month, and the back of the last 'record' page would be something else. Those kinds of pages can be found in the Core template, I think.

Paper size: 
Classic (5.5 x 8.5)
License: 
Public Domain
Applications required: 
OpenOffice.Org
Language: 
English

Actions (Classic Pouch Version)

Actions, Pouch VersionLast week, we gave you the Harmony Pouch Version, a version of the life- and project-balancing form that fits snugly into the Classic size pouch of Franklin-Covey planner kits. I've received nearly a dozen requests for an Actions card that fits the same pouch, so here it is.

As with the Harmony card, you can use this either in a pouch or as a bookmark. The concept is simple: use this for the "carry forward" action items each day. For example, you can set the front to be your Next Actions at work, and the reverse to be another context (like errands), or perhaps a Waiting For list. (If you find that you need several of these for multiple contexts, I'd advise using the Satellite Action Cards from the Hipster PDA Edition instead -- it's a whole lot easier than shuffling cards in and out of a pouch.)

Download: Actions, Classic Pouch Version (draft #1)

This is meant to be printed 4-up on letter size, but it should print fine on A4 as long as you tell Acrobat to rotate and centre. For a double-sided set of cards, just print, turn over the paper, and print again.

Harmony (Classic Pouch Version)

Harmony, Pouch VersionSomething a little different today. This was a direct result of a request, and since it only took a few minutes, I was pleased to do it.

Users of certain day planners (especially those rhyming with, say, Shanklin Lovey) often use a special "pouch" pagemarker to indicate their current date. Inside this pouch --actually just a folded-over piece of flexible plastic with a ruler on the side and a tab at the top-- is generally kept a roles-and-goals type card. One of our readers wanted to know if it was possible to create a version of our Harmony template to actually fit into the pouch.

Your wish is my command. Here is a 4-up set of Harmony templates that can be used like a regular Harmony form. The major difference is that it fits snugly into a Shanklin Lovey classic pouch, and also makes a dandy bookmark, if you choose. The back is a place for notes.

Download: Harmony, Classic Pouch Version (draft #1)

This should print fine as-is on letter-size paper (I recommend 60-80 lb stock), and it should be okay on A4 size as long as you tell Acrobat to center the page.