Workshop

Planning to Have Fun

If template designers were scientists, I'd be a white-frocked and absent-minded head of research at a university lab. Guest-poster John Norris, on the other hand, would be the wild-eyed and frizzle-haired loony hoisting his creation up to the array of lightning rods atop the castle roof. We all should have such checks and balances. -DJ


Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans.
John Lennon, "Beautiful Boy"

Pushing the Envelope

OK, OK, obviously DIYPlanner.com is all about productivity. However, there are many spheres in which one may be productive. For corporate work, it's meetings, to-do's and contacts. However, maybe you're a poet, choreographer or sculputor and need to be productive artistically. These areas would have corresponding templates that may be quite different from corporate work.

Let's push further. "Productivity" is not merely efficiency: it commonly brings with it a positive, qualitative, meaning. Hipsters can address quality of life issues. Games, ice-breakers, puzzles, etc., can add to one's simple enjoyment of life. You're carrying it everywhere, so why not include enough distractions so you will Get Nothing Done (TM), but have fun anyway?

Template Design 101: Making Map Templates

Sample Map TemplateIn the audio book version of The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People (which comes across as an interesting lecture, by the way, and is not simply an uninspired reading of the book), Stephen R. Covey gives the humourous example of a boss conducting a meeting who sends a visitor a map that (due to a error) has the wrong city. The visitor is hopelessly confused, running lost down all the streets, expending all his energy to find his way. He calls up the boss, who demands, "Try harder!"

Aside from being an interesting allusion for the need to have a clear and correct plan in place, it's also an indication of the importance of maps. Now, I can't produce maps for every place, for every situation, that you might find yourself in. But what I can do is offer you an easy way to create a D*I*Y Planner style set of map templates of your very own.

Making Creative and Inexpensive Covers

wishing jar collage, by jaymi elfordPlanners are like personalities, every single one is different. Taking a trip to OfficeMax or the grocery store shows you all sorts of planner styles; from leather bound books with colorful forms made by famous artists, to cheap, plastic notebooks. While these planners all have a personality of their own to match any lifestyle... they all share one thing in common. They cost. And sometimes, it gets expensive refilling and buying new ones yearly. Of course, learning how to create your own planners and forms is why we’re here and what D*I*Y* Planner is all about.

So put away your wallets. I’m going to share a few ideas on how to take cheap planner binders or packages and turn them into one-of- a-kind artistic expression of yourself. The suggestions contained in this article are easy and don’t require a whole lot of artistic knowledge or a creative MBA. I believe that making things should be fun, cheap and can be done in small, passionate bursts of time and energy. And now, let’s get busy.

A Beginner's Guide to Making a D*I*Y Planner

Day Runner + D*I*Y PlannerMany first-time visitors to this site are probably overwhelmed by the vast number of pages, templates, packages, sizes and loose forms available. This little all-in-one guide is meant to direct beginners to downloading the right packages, printing and preparing the forms, and setting up a basic planner or Hipster PDA using the D*I*Y Planner kits.

The goal here is to teach you how to create an effective industrial-strength planner system that can last for years, yet costs next to nothing. This page might look a little complicated at first glance, but you'll be surprised by how little work is generally involved, especially after a little practice. For example, I can now create a dozen double-sided punched forms in about three to four minutes, including printing, by using basic (i.e., "cheap") equipment. No special skills are involved, just a little patience and an hour or two to follow the step-by-step instructions the first time through.

(If you only want to download the kits and start experimenting, jump to the Official D*I*Y Planner Kits page and follow the links.)

Hipster Envelope

A simple cover for your HipsterPDA based upon the cover provided in the D*I*Y Planner Hipster PDA Edition.

Usage advice: 

This came to me after seeing what some really creative people came up with as cases for their HipsterPDA's. Though cases break the basic philosophy of the Hipster PDA, as stated on the Hipster PDA site as "3. There is no step 3".

I know that forms also break the basic philosophy. But I am of the opinion that a form gives structure and in many cases help the data gathering process, so a simple cover or case was needed.

I think this one is simple, can be produced inexpensively, requires no clips or rubber bands or other hardware, and if you already use the D*I*Y forms you have all the skill need to construct one your self.

I have set up my Hipster as follows:

1. An envelope case

2. An index card with the Covey methodology on one side and the GTD methodology on the other. I had this laminated and trimmed it to fit.

3. An index card with the 2005 Calendar on one side and the 2006 Card on the other. This one is laminated and trimmed also.

This makes a case with three sections. In front are those cards I need to deal with when I get home. The middle holds other reference cards - Matrix cards with Blood Pressure, Shopping lists, checklists, whatever I need. In the back I carry lined index cards. I write big and this works well for me.

When I need to write something I pull a card from the back and use the envelope - with the laminated cards inside - to write on. It makes a nice surface to write on and fits in the palm of my hand.

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

Sliderule

A real sliderule. Requires a bit of cutting and pasting.

Usage advice: 

Simply cut and paste and you'll have a working slide rule. Slides rules got us to the moon, they ought to get you around town.

I've had one of these in my hipster stack for months and it works as good as new.

Thanks to the work of Charles Kankelborg.

Paper size: 
Letter
License: 
Creative Commons
Applications required: 
PDF Reader
Language: 
English

HipsterCover Web App

I whipped up this little webapp to allow me (and you) to change the cover of my HipsterPDA any time I get the urge. It allows you to upload any photo you choose and converts that photo into a cover for your HipsterPDA. Try it out. Get hipper. Tell me how I can improve it.
http://www.eleven21.com/hipster

Usage advice: 

Just fill out the online form for this web app and it will generate a HipsterPDA cover that will allow you to show off a picture of your family, friends, pets, or favorite movie star on the cover of your HipsterPDA. The output is a PDF file in LEGAL format. I recommend you print it on card stock or get it laminated for durability. If you don't, it's no big deal, just create a new one!

This app is given without any warranty whatsoever. You may use it as you wish but any attempt to grab the code is against the rules. If you want to know how I did it, just get in touch and I'll be glad to let you know. My only request . . . let me know how I can make it better.

Enjoy!

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

D*I*Y Planner Widget Kit 0.3 (for OpenOffice.org)

The most requested item on my D*I*Y Planner to-do list, even more so than the Hipster PDA Edition, has been a source file so that people can create their own templates. I'm not about to release my mass of Adobe Illustrator and InDesign files (indeed, they are guaranteed to frighten small children and reduce husky men to tears), but I've been hinting for a while at an OpenOffice.org template that mere mortals might use without fear of drowning in thousands of vector layers. The time has come for a preview release.

D*I*Y Planner Widget Kit (Sample)Below you'll find an early release of my OpenOffice.org Draw template kit for creating your very own forms, called --ahem-- the D*I*Y Planner Widget Kit 0.3. It requires at least 1.1.3 of OpenOffice.org (free at OpenOffice.org), a touch of patience, and a little bit of knowledge of Draw (or at least a willingness to learn it). It should work fine in OOo 1.9.x, but my Linux box is down for the count, so I can't test it at the moment. (This kit was created with NeoOffice/J on a Mac, a Java-driven version of 1.1.x.) In the package, you'll find the Draw SXD file, a sample PDF exported from it, and the very necessary Blue Highway fonts. Please make sure you install these first!

When you open up this file, you'll see a page with a layout that approximates a standard 5.5x8.5 D*I*Y Planner form, and there are a number of graphical elements that you can copy and paste into your own creation. That's all there is, really: no elite programming or technical skills required, just OOo and enough time to do what you need. My only tip for you: create a new "slide" (i.e., page), copy the whole widget slide into it, delete what you don't want, and move around the rest, duplicating as necessary. Be sure to plan out your template first (I do mine on paper), and then start experimenting with the kit. The more you use the elements and the application, the more you'll figure out what's going on. I'm offering no support for this kit at the moment, nor am I giving any advice on using OOo -- that's what its help is for, and there are tutorials floating around the Net.

In other words, use this package at your peril.

Download: D*I*Y Planner Widget Kit 0.3

This package is released under a Creative Commons Attribution- NonCommercial- ShareAlike License.

Note: for those people looking to develop Hipster PDA templates, you can use this Widget Kit, although I'm working on getting a 5.5"x8.5" version to 1.0 first before anything else. To make hPDA templates, you can either scale your final design to 3"x5" size (which would throw off the proportions, probably), or you can try the following:

  1. Set the page dimensions to 3" wide by 5" high, with a margin of 1/4".
  2. Select the whole page of Widgets, grab a corner handle, and while holding down the shift key (this keeps the right proportions), resize until it fits into the left and right margins. This may take a few attempts, and a little practice.
  3. Drag the widgets so that the title falls just under the top margin.
  4. You may also have to fiddle a bit with the various line thicknesses (see the pulldown at top left) to get it looking right. By the way, a line thickness of 0.00" is actually quite thin, but still there.

Further questions or experimentation regarding the "hPDA-ification" of the WK should probably be directed to the template design and requests forum.

D*I*Y Planner color test

This template contains the basic form elements that are used by the D*I*Y Planner, including the various colors that the planner uses, for testing how they'll look on your printer. It also includes a grey block chart showing various shades of grey to assist you in using appropriate colors in your own templates.

Thumbnail: 
Usage advice: 

Print this PDF out, experimenting with different settings on your printer to find the combination of good dithering patterns and contrast. If the D\*I\*Y Planner's default colors are too dark or too light, use the grey box test to find appropriate greyscale numbers for your printer that you can use when developing your own templates.

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