Time Management

Bushwhacking for Hipsters 4: Making Your Goals SMARTer

When you’re in the thick of things, I find, the first thing to go out the window is that list of goals you’ve got tacked to the wall. You’re putting out fires, and trying to have a vision of your life as you want it to be is sometimes just altogether too hard to deal with on top of the myriad things that Life wants to throw at you.

The best laid plans and all that jazz.

The biggest problem, at least for me, is that I lose sight of the exercise we did last week -- the Life Vision -- and all of the related goals that end up on the giant mind map. It’s been hammered home to me on several occasions in the past week that YOUR version of your life is completely different than everyone ELSE’s version of it, and if I’m looking at abstract aims rather than very clear Goals, I can very quickly lose myself in what everyone else wants.

Year a page (A4) 2006/2007

This template provides a year per A4 (landscape) page.

There are two versions:

  • Weekdays as rows (2006)
  • Day of month as rows (2006 & 2007)
Thumbnail: 
year-planner-a4-preview.png
Usage advice: 

Use it as holiday planner for yourself and/or your coworkers.

Includes the OpenOffice 2.0 Template.

Paper size: 
A4
License: 
Creative Commons
Applications required: 
PDF Reader (Adobe Reader, Mac OS X Preview), OpenOffice 2.0
Language: 
German

Bushwhacking for Hipsters #3: The Journey for the Destination

This week has been nothing short of a challenge. Between house guests, technical difficulties, and a fair bit of petty family drama, the temptation has been great to just give up. Go with the flow, so to speak. Let other people decide what to do. It’d certainly be the easier choice.

But like I mentioned at the beginning of this series -- that’s exactly the cause of the feeling of overwhelm that forced me to hit rock bottom to begin with. Everyone else’s expectations are always different than the ones you have for yourself, and if you give up the control over the direction your life will take, you’re just asking to be put on a highway you didn’t ask for, with a destination you’re probably not going to be overly excited about.

Interior Cartography: orienteering from your place of origin

Eliza Metz is the leader of the ArtScouts and a ninja podcaster for an anonymous knitting podcast. Stranded in the land of corn and cows for now, she dreams of the day she'll call the mountains her home again. She's going to be taking over the Tuesday slot, offering advice on getting your life back on track.


Before you set out for any journey, whether it's a family vacation or a spiritual quest, you first need to know where you are. It stands to reason, then, that my first step on this trip toward motivation and life organization would be to stop, take a look around, and document my own "map". Oddly enough, as simple as it sounds, taking a good hard look at things isn't always easy. When I did so, this past week, I noticed upon review that there were a lot of areas about which I wasn't overly honest. Not because I didn't WANT to be honest, or intentionally glossed-over, but because I'm just too close to them to see them accurately.

2007 Monthly Calendar - 2 pages per month

I used the D*I*Y Template to create the 2007 monthly calendars. These calendars are 2 pages per month. I've included both the PDFs and OpenOffice source files. I also included US Holidays, but those can easily be deleted from the source files.

Thumbnail: 
Usage advice: 

My wife uses these as her main calendar. There is a left-side and a rigt-side for each month. The two sheets together give you a month-at-a-glance view.

Paper size: 
Classic (5.5 x 8.5)
License: 
Creative Commons
Applications required: 
PDF Reader (Adobe Reader, Mac OS X Preview); OpenOffice 2.0
Language: 
English

Bushwacking for Hipsters

Eliza Metz is the leader of the ArtScouts and a ninja podcaster for an anonymous knitting podcast. Stranded in the land of corn and cows for now, she dreams of the day she'll call the mountains her home again. She's going to be taking over the Tuesday slot, offering advice on getting your life back on track.



It's easier to follow someone else's path for life than it is to make your own. It's two a.m. here, and I'm sitting here at the laptop. All around me are signs that my inner life is much more messy than I delude myself into thinking when it's earlier in the day -- the desk is a mess, covered in projects in various states of completion. In fact, the room itself is much the same way, filled with things half-done and partially-started. The whole house follows suit, because I'm the one who is in charge of taking care of it, and once the mind-clutter starts propogating here, at this desk, the rest of the house falls room by room like a string of dominoes.

I have good intentions. Being the half of this marriage that stays at home, I know that it's up to me to keep things running smoothly. Looking around, though, I know that the changes that need to be made in order to have that happen need to start with me.

But where to begin? And what needs to happen first, in order to pick up these pieces of life that are starting to feel overwhelming, and put them in a place where I can start managing my life rather than just reacting to it?

Small Steps in a Long Journey

R. Taylor is a Southern lady and proud of it--even if her ancestors came over long after the Mayflower landed. She currently works in a local vet's office, and is owned by a small Siamese mix whom she spoils rotten. She writes horror stories and poetry, and posts far too many collections of links in her LiveJournal. She also dislikes writing bios of herself, since they make her feel rather too full of herself.


Many people find setting goals intimidating. But it doesn't have to be. All you need to do is break that large goal down into smaller chunks. It sounds harder than it looks but it can help you manage larger goals and projects. Let me show you how it's done and then I'll take you through an example, step by step.

  1. Research your goal. Find out everything you can about it and what it takes to get there.
  2. Make a list of the things you'll need to know to achieve your goal.
  3. Make a tentative plan for the first step. Think about what a good small step to achieving the goal is and write it down. Maybe even give yourself a date for which you can get it done by. Make it reasonable and give yourself a reward for making that first commitment.
  4. Then, write down more small steps, as many as it takes, to get to your goal. Each step should be small and manageable and be one self contained action.
  5. Assess how well the plan's working and adjust it if you need it. This step should be repeated periodically.
  6. Keep track of your progress in a way that makes sense to you. Keep a journal or find a D*I*Y Planner template that helps you keep track.
  7. Don't give yourself a hard time. If you find that giving yourself rewards works for motivating you, give yourself small rewards until you reach your goal. You can also spread out the goals you receive as you make steps through your plan.

Daily Keeper with Notes

2 Page per day - Daily Keeper and Notes

Thumbnail: 
Usage advice: 

Common daily time keeper with room for day-to-day notes.

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

The Matters Most List

Recently, I've fallen off the planner wagon, but I'm here to repent. Over the last several weeks, I've been lazy and overwhelmed at the same time, and the mix has turned into something of a nightmare. I've come to realize in this time, however, that one thing surely DOESN'T work: to-do lists.

A To-do list is basically a collection of things you "could" do in a day. That's all well and good, but truly, is it what you need? You could fill to-do lists until the end of time, if you think about it. Anything is fair game on a to-do list. Instead, I propose a new type of list: a Matters Most list.