Analog / Digital

Go Ahead, Ask A Question and Let the Answer Organize You

On Monday, I attended a free teleconference offered on marketing small businesses by Veronika Noize. She taught us how the questions we ask can provide us some structure throughout the day. I really liked this idea because it helps me avoid distractions such as T.V., email, etc. An example question she offered us was, “What is the highest and best use of my time today?"

The above question, however, is just a start. Some other good questions include, “What do I want to accomplish today?”, or “When will I get a specific task done today?”, or “What is motivating me to work on my business, career, school, etc. today?” These are just a few potential questions that can be used to help organize your thoughts when you plan your day out in your planner.

Prompts by Bullets: using bulleted lists to plan time

Currently, I'm working on writing up a business plan for Imagine Your Reality, my life coaching business. While I already had an idea of who my target audience is and I want to accomplish with the business, after a long discussion with a good friend (who is also an entrepreneur) I realized that my practice wasn’t as tightly focused as it needed to be. I had taken a shotgun approach to my life coaching, by offering to focus on a variety of areas. My friend pointed out to me that when you take that kind of an approach you don’t really tend to stand out. And standing out was something I wanted to do. Therefore, it was time to sit down and figure out exactly what I wanted my business to go.

It was time to start writing a business plan that could help me organize the material I had already developed into a more cohesive and focused program for building my business. I had come across an excellent template for writing a business plan and decided to use it to help me further flesh out my own plan (See http://www.veronikanoize.com/marketing_plan for the template). As I started reading the template, another thought hit me. I realized I needed to integrate my planner into writing the business plan. I grabbed my planner and blocked time in my day to note when and which sections of this template I would fill out. However, I went one step further. I included a series of bullet point prompts to help me get some quick brainstorming ideas down.

Review: LifeShaker; or why I like my to-do list shaken, not stirred

LifeShaker, a desktop to-do list application from Funky Cloud, makes adding items to your daily list almost as fun as crossing them off. It's available for Mac OS X and costs $29 USD.

I'm going to be blunt for a second. Let's get real... I can use a simple pen and paper to track my daily goals. And that's how I typically go about writing down all the things I need to track and when to get them done by. So why would I even bother taking a software to-do list application for a test drive? Because it looks cool and makes entering goals into it more fun than a piece of paper. If you're picky like me, you know a program has got to have something special in it to make me WANT to give it more than a passing glance. And LifeShaker has got that something special that makes me want to use it.

LifeShaker immediately draws you in with its unique interface. The bulk of the window shows you 9 squares, each with a goal or "next action" step for a goal. This innovative grid view allows you to quickly see how many tasks you have without feeling too overwhelmed. The bottom of the screen includes lines for you to add new goals. Click the "plus" button to add your tasks. If your task includes several steps before it's done, then click the "plus" button in the Steps list to add the steps you need to do before that project is complete and the goal achieved.

At Home, With No Work To Do: What Do I Do Now?

Today's post was written by Taylor Ellwood. With nearly 16 years of communication training, writing, personal and spiritual transformation work, and an insatiable curiosity about life and people, Taylor believes that life is best lived when you are in touch with your passion, beliefs, and imagination. As a Whole Person Design Coach, Taylor creatively employs insightful intuition, conscious awareness, intentional action, and open, direct honesty to ignite the passion of his clients so that they can achieve their goals, let go of limiting beliefs, dissolve perceived obstacles, and empower themselves to be who they really want to be. To learn more, visit http://www.imagineyourreality.com.


Last Friday, I finished my latest tech writing assignment. I'm currently in-between contracts and having just finished certification for life coaching, it's the perfect time to launch my business off the ground. I'd already begun doing some of the work, but having more time at home provides a good opportunity to do research and get materials put together. My biggest challenge is providing myself a routine or plans to keep myself focused and on task each day.

Classic Recipe Card

I would like to make a Circa Classic size recipe book but cannot find anything other than index card sized recipe cards.

Usage advice: 

Make a classic size recipe book

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

Day Diary Template 2008

Updated, refer to Day Diary Template 2008 v1

Usage advice: 

Print A4 double-sided to get correct result.
Cutting marks for Covery Compact are printed. Please check these for your diary before cutting.
I use space above the appointments to note birthdays, anniversaries, etc.

Hope you find these useful. If so, i shall post more for 2008

Paper size: 
Other
License: 
Creative Commons
Applications required: 
Adove Reader Preview, any PDF reading application
Language: 
English

The Survival of the Kittest

Monkey with a penWhen visitors or interviewers contact me under the mistaken impression that I'm sort of productivity guru, due to the D*I*Y Planner project, I don't know whether to laugh, sigh, or just continue the charade. You see, I am one of the most chronically disorganized people on the planet. Seriously. I am a project manager during my day job, having to juggle and direct dozens of disparate interactive and marketing projects, and the reason for my success in that role can be summed up in one simple piece of advice: "Write stuff down in a place where you can find it."

Yes, Allen's GTD adherents will recognise the "trusted system" at work here, and the Covey adherents will recognise their daily planners with their big and little rocks, but it's a tough rule to stick to. For example, I've been blessed with a pretty good memory (despite what my wife claims), and I had taken advantage of that for my day-to-day organization. Some readers out there will emphathise: you have three or four towering stacks of papers and magazines and books in the corner threatening to topple and kill the cat at any moment. Someone asks, "Do you have a copy of that?" Why yes, I do, and it's that purplish thing four inches from the bottom of the second stack. Retrieving it in an SPCA-appropriate manner, though, can prove a challenge, were it not for my elite "pull it out real fast while compensating for mass shift" skills.

But the reliance on memory is just the first stage in our organizational evolution.

Fillable Weekly Planning Forms

Some more Classic Fillable Forms. Here are Weekly Planning forms, Weekly Planning 1B7 and Weekly Planning 1B8.

These are fillable via Adobe Reader or Preview (Mac). I used the designs on page 23 & page 25 of the D*I*Y Planner 3.0 (Classic Edition) Core Package.

Usage advice: 

Type your information in and print. If you are going to save any data in the document, save your changes in a new document.

Paper size: 
Classic (5.5 x 8.5)
License: 
Creative Commons
Applications required: 
Adobe Reader, Preview, any PDF reading application
Language: 
English

Advice on Using a Paper Punch

Paper punches, both Circa and 3-ring, are insanely useful. They allow us to use our preferred paper in our planners. They allow us to make and keep articles of interest to our careers and hobbies. And they allow us to fulfill the spirit of DIY by customizing every aspect of our paper life by ourselves. Like any modern day device, however, using a paper punch requires a little bit of exploration and maintenance to get the most out of it.

The first thing you should do, when you get your punch is to look it over and read any manuals (if any). Get to know how your punch works. This includes removing any thing clamping the punch together, like the small red plastic bits that held my Levenger Circa punch together. Understand how the punch tray works and test this feature out. This is that plastic tray that is loosely held on the bottom of the punch that collects all the left-over holes and smurfs after you perforate your papers. Sometimes this tray sticks and can be a big pain to remove or put back on. You'll want to make sure you can get yours on and off when the tray fills up with those tiny scraps of paper.