Creativity

Standing Your Cards Up to See

The forums are a buzz lately with a lot of discussion about what seems to be the best method of holding portrait style index cards. There seems to be two different camps on the subject. Card Bleachers, like the Levenger Index Card Bleacher, seems to be one popular suggestion for standing cards up. While others are leaning towards a photo clip style. I'm here to suggest a third. Clipboards. Yes, you heard me right, you can turn an simple clipboard into a dual purpose productivity tool and a work of your creative expression with just a few minutes.


Knitting Project Manager

A basic form for knitters to use in organizing projects. There are sections for keeping track of patterns, yarn, and needles as well as room for sketches, notes, and charting.

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Usage advice: 

I'm not a graphic designer, so this isn't perfect, but the basic idea is that you can have your project info all on one page for quick reference. I like to have records of the projects I've done, and this form can be used as a record of past projects as well as an idea sheet for future knitting. The back of the form is knitter's graph paper for charting color or stitch designs.

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

Journal Prompt: Hire a Muse

I've started writing my way to my 2007 goal of keeping a hand written journal since January 1st. Every day I've tried to write a little something and so far it's been pretty easy. I'm trying to steer away from the whole writing about my day gig but that's not always happened. For three days, however, I focused my entries around this little exercise. And now, I invite you all to do it as well. Get out your journal and your pen... it's time to hire a muse.


hPDA Expanding File

Make your own expanding file (like the popular Moleskine version) with as many pockets as you want.

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Usage advice: 

This template is for a single expanding pocket. It's a little wider (0.5" wider, actually) than a standard 3x5 index card, and 2.75" high so the cards can be visible over the top edge. The pockets can be glued together to make a multi-pocket expanding file, similar to the Moleskine version. The only reason I made this is because I was too lazy to drive to the store and buy a Moleskine.

Another great modification/addition to this template would be gluing a flap-style cover over the top, so the cards aren't falling all over the place.

A few notes:

  • I used permanent double-sided tape to attach the tabs AND to attach the pockets together, and it works very well. It holds better than glue does right away, so I recommend it.
  • The corner fold (the only angled lines in the template) are a real pain in the neck, but don't lose hope, because it CAN be done. If Smead can do it, so can you. I find that it helps to fold the wide sides of the pocket up, and then mash the corner fold in there BEFORE cutting any tabs out.
  • I used cover-weight (65-lb.) cardstock for this, and since I was gluing more than one pocket together, it provided the right flexibility but was still sturdy enough when done. Anything thicker might be too hard to fold properly.
  • Last tip: scoring the creases (with the dull side of a butterknife, or a letter opener) helps the paper crease neatly. Use a ruler to guide the butterknife along the straight lines.

Also, there are two templates: one requires a printer capable of borderless letter-size printing, and has 2.75"-high sides all the way around. The other template can print on any printer that can handle half-inch margins, but the "expanding" sides of the pocket are only 2.25" high.

Paper size: 
Index Card (3 x 5)
License: 
Creative Commons
Applications required: 
PDF Reader (Adobe Reader, Mac OS X Preview)
Language: 
English

Resolutions: The DIY Planner Way

New year spawns new resolutions. Thanks to Steve, we're seeing a lot of ideas on who's planning on tackling what in 2007. What better way to start out the new year right by coming up with a new list of thoughts and ideas for you to accomplish throughout the new year. And of course, your planner makes it easy to let you dream big and accomplish your resolutions. How? Well, listen on.

Color Coded Organization

Before I kick off today's article I wanted to wish you all a very Happy Christmas, Festivus, or Winter Solstice. May you have a wonderful holiday filled with lots of paper and productivity toys. Here's looking forward to another great year of forms, articles and hacks in 2007!


Earlier this week I was musing over how to reorganize the types of information that come to me and how to quickly identify and sort each type into their permanent homes. The following is a quick and simple, but powerful way to wrangle your thoughts: according to color. This method works great for people who tend to keep multiple journals or like to separate out information into different "piles." I know some people like to keep their GTD items in one book, thoughts and plots for stories in another and spiritual ramblings in a third. I know I tend to think in categories and prefer my information in neat, organized piles myself. For those of you who carry multiple journals in some huge bag, at all times, this new idea may sound scary at first. But if you like this idea, give it a shot and feel free to make modifications according to what works best for you. You'll also love this tip if you are trying to pare down your lifestyle and make things a bit more simplistic.

Writing Daily: The Embodiment Project 2007

I once thought of the writing life as a way to constantly hone my craft. Picturesque scenes filled my brain: me sitting in my favorite writing chair while candles burned scents, my trusted black spider web mug full with chai on the coffee table. This was how I was going to pass the time in between my best-selling novels, improving my writing. Of course, such a romantic notion doesn't pay the bills; but I do find that more time every day I reflect back upon this simple and romantic notion of writing. Journal writing, for me, is my way to recapture my romantic ideals of writing. Sadly, other than a few random entries here and there in my own online journals (and more recently the occasional scribble on an index card), journalling has taken a back seat in my life. Lately I have not given time to hone my craft; to reflex back upon the things that swim through my head and the thoughts I have about our society. Those careful and chunky snippets of raw writing that characterizes my personality immortalized on paper.

Which is why I've made the decision to spend a little bit of every day next year, writing for myself. Writing to recapture the rawness and the spark that romanticizes writing again. I'm going to participate in Embodiment, a project dedicated to writing a hand-written entry in journals every day for the whole year. I'm even going to attempt to work on my visual journalling style as well during the course of the next year.

Cheer Me On: Writing Buddies

The soft haze of two laptop screens illuminate the intent faces of the writers with soft white glow. Word processors display on the screen as the sounds of furious typing carry out into the room. Occasionally, one writer blurts out a demand for a quick idea to fix the scene they are working on; while the other, pauses in their own work to provide a patch solution before diving back into their own words. This scene illuminates one way that writing cheerleaders work with each other to craft their projects.

No, I'm not talking about scantly clad squads of people holding pom-poms chanting inspiring cheers. I'm talking about those people who through their own act of writing and experiencing a writing life, help cheer you on with your goals and help you attain your dreams. On long writing projects, a writing cheerleader helps keep morale up and reminds you that they're right there with you, writing their own work. And after years of not having a writing cheerleader, I can honestly say that writing is more fun when you have a friend who also sits at their computers with their own writing goals and projects to share in the elation and the depressions of a writer's life.

As a special treat, I asked my own writing cheerleader, iScribe, to share her thoughts and feelings on this subject as we partnered up last month during NaNoWriMo. So, take it away iScribe, please!

Music Practice Tracker

A page for your planner to help track when you practice your music! Also has space to take notes of where you can improve. Available in Classic, A5, Letter and A4

Usage advice: 

Use this to keep track of when you practice your music. By taking notes, like "REMEMBER THE B flat" etc, you can see as you practice more your improvements. This is good for little reminders.
It also has a whole heap of hints!
You can email me for more information.

SIZES - The two PDF files are letter and A4. To use with Classic and A5, simply shrink it down in printing. Go to File> Print Setup and change the paper size to Classic or A5.

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