Misc.

Tracking Thank-Yous

Thank-you for birthdays and other special occasions

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Usage advice: 

Don't forget a single thank-you card this holiday season with this D*I*Y Planner Thank You tracking form. =) Write down the person and the gift as you open each package, and fill in the checkbox when you send that thank-you note (complete with personal reference to the gift, of course)!

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

Turn, Turn, Turn

I hope you'll forgive this rambling and somewhat personal post, but I'm writing it rather hastily at a public terminal in a library while a vulture-nosed man circles about, impatiently tapping his fingers on various surfaces while he clears his throat in the loudest and most guttural ways possible.

I've been offline for more than a week because of moving, and the non-connectivitis is beginning to take its toll. I wonder what's happening with this website, with the outside world, and with all my friends, and I feel like I've been in a prison for a week with no glimpse of sunlight or other humans (although, ironically, I have experienced more sun and interpersonal contact than at any time in the past year). I'm told I should be finally hooked up come Tuesday or Wednesday, but till then the digital isolation continues.

Alone in the Dark

Well, Steve's not actually alone, since he's there with his family. He is in the dark, though, and doesn't have access to his email and instant messenger, so I'm quite sure he's pretty lonely anyway.

He called me last night with a rambling tale about mad rodents in the walls, lots of people with flashing lights, people panicking in the dark, and a fuse box "burning festively." I'm looking forward to hearing the full story, but unfortunately we're going to have to wait until Steve (and Henry and Co.) get their power back. Sorry, folks.

Treasure Map

Record where things are when they are not where they belong.

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Usage advice: 

Is something on loan? Note it here so you don't waste time hunting for it later on.

Do you share space? Write down any unexpected movements of shared items and put it on the 'fridge.

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

Clearing Out the Clutter

fall clutter shot

Every now and then the spaces that we consider home become filled up with things. Old books pile up next to the coffee table unread; mail sits on the counter unopened; clothes hang in the closets unworn for years. Lots of little things hold us back and fill our heads with visions of getting all the things we no longer find useful out of the house. So we can fill it up again with all the new things our heart desires. However, there is usually one place we tend to overlook every time we go clean out the cluttered spaces in our home. Our planners.

If you are anything like me, you probably live out of your journals or planners. All sorts of scraps of paper fill those little binders or booklets. Receipts for purchases you can’t recall what you purchased, phone numbers quickly scribbled down on post-its and website addresses with unrecognizable names. If this sounds like the way your planner looks like now, it’s time for a good old fashioned Fall cleaning. Of course, if you’re following the David Allen Getting Things Done methodology, you should be making this a weekly priority. However, for those of us, who aren’t as good about visiting our planners and journals once a week, then this article is for you.

Comparison Shopper for HPDA

HPDA-sized card to list the features you want in an item you want to buy and to compare up to 3 different models.

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Usage advice: 

This template was inspired by Merlin Mann's Phone Made of Human Ass podcast. It is a simple reference card that you can list features you want in a new device, with space to fill in several models and check off which have the features you are looking for. There is also space for notes so you can keep track of things like which store/website carries which model, etc.

This is my first-ever template using the DIY Planner Widget Kit, and I admit I screwed up saving the OODraw file, so I do not have the source file, only the finished PDF. My apologies...

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

Speaking in Seconds: How to Prepare for Public Speaking

Okay, maybe not seconds, but pretty close to it. Here's how you can quickly organize ideas into a coherent speech.

Apparently, the little-bits-of-paper-all-over-the-floor trick also works really well when you're preparing speeches. I needed to cram two speeches in less than seven days. "Procrastination" was my entry in the Toastmasters Humorously Speaking area-level contest last Thursday, and "Social bookmarking" was the talk I delivered today and yesterday. I've used this technique to prepare for talks in five minutes, too. =) Good stuff, and quite a lifesaver.

Here's how you can use paper to quickly brainstorm and memorize a speech:

Franklin Virtue Chart

Franklin's Virtues: IndustryI've been looking for a nice lightweight way to jump into using the release candidate of OpenOffice.org 2 Draw (I'm not quite ready to tackle the Widget Kit yet), and inspiration came from the forums where Anonymous Ed requested an hPDA template of Benjamin Franklin's virtues chart, dating all the way back to 1726. I'm a sucker for historical methods of tracking information, as well as a fan of dear old Ben, so this series of fascinating charts seemed like the perfect opportunity to try my hand. (For more information about them, check out the FlameBright page on Ben's virtues and a short 43 Folders discussion about it. )

This template is a bit of an anomoly, since it doesn't follow the D*I*Y Planner look and feel, but rather a semi-historical one. (Click on the image at right for a larger view.) It includes:

  • Charts containing all thirteen of Benjamin Franklin's virtues and descriptions (at least, according to the FlameBright site)
  • A completely blank template, with only days of the week (this is suitable for more than tracking virtues, of course -- e.g., exercises): you can print these up and write in your own "virtues" and descriptions
  • A blank template with text, so you can click on the text in OpenOffice.org and change it to something else

I've included the OOo2 source file so you can modify the templates as you see fit, or you can use this as a base for different sizes and configurations (such as 4-up or 4"x6"). The font used is the nice old-fashioned Century Schoolbook, as installed via OOo2.

Good luck on Ch. ;-)

Download:


A Cornucopia of Planner Tips #1

CornucopiaI have a section of my planner devoted to D*I*Y Planner -related tips, ideas, and vague notions for posts. Many of these little scraps wouldn't serve as a basis for a full article, so I've decided to occasionally gather a whole bunch of them together and toss them into the wind. Some of these tips are actually practical, some are cosmetic, some deal with reference materials. And some are strange or even a little crazy, but might provide something to show your employer by way of demonstrating that the company really is working you too hard.