Tag Archives: getting things done

Blast from the Past

Hey everyone! I know, I kind of lapsed with my blog here and disappeared. To be honest, that is one thing about me that I don’t plan to do but seems to always happen. You can ask my closest friends, I tend to go away now and then – but I always come back! A character flaw, I guess, but I’m working on it.

I am now in my Spring semester and I’ve already had like 6 or 7 weeks of classes, so I have some things to post but I need to work on them some more first. We have off this week for Spring break, so I am trying to catch up and finalize some work but I’ve been having a lot of trouble concentrating. I guess part of it is that working full-time and then trying to switch gears into creative mode when you get home at night is a struggle. Also, I have a lot of other things I want to do that compete for my time.

This actually came up during a recent class because we were discussing “How To Steal Like An Artist” (I’ll include a link for those of you who haven’t read it yet). One of the items on the list is “Be Boring (it’s the only way to get work done)” and I know that it’s true but it’s hard to say no to spending time with people that I care about. It’s all about the balance I guess.

How do *you* do it? How do you strike a balance between accomplishing your goals and finding time to relax and strengthen the all-important social ties that keep us healthy and motivated?

Ok, here’s the link that I mentioned – enjoy!  How To Steal Like An Artist

 

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Hipster PDA Tips for People Obsessed With Productivity Pr0n But Bad At Actual Productivity (via Slow Burn Productions)

I just discovered, on 43 Folders, the amazing concept of the “Hipster PDA“. (I don’t believe the name is referring to the hipster subculture, but rather the size/portability of the item.) What is this craziness, you ask? Here is what the “Benefits” section has to say in the 43 Folders Wiki article:

“There are a number of benefits to a Hipster PDA over a digital PDA:

  • Cards can be arbitrarily resequenced, given away, and writing by hand is freeform and unrestricted
  • Card size encourages concise notes
  • Can be put into a pocket
  • Won’t run out of batteries
  • More durable: won’t be destroyed by water, coffee, dropping on floor, etc.
  • Cheaper: cents per card compared to hundreds of dollars…
  • Environmentally sound: Use recycled cards, recycle them when you’re done, keep batteries/worn out electronics out of landfills
  • Information doesn’t get lost in there; when something’s no longer relevant, you throw it away

The Hipster is also cheaper and smaller than the traditional planner, making it easier to carry and easier to keep stocked.

A Hipster even has geek value: when everyone whips out their digital PDA, watch what happens when you whip out your Hipster PDA…”

Hmm… Kind of intriguing. If you know me even fairly well, you know that I am quite a technophile, so you might be thinking “um, Kara, are you feeling ok?” I assure you, however, that despite my deep love and passion for gadgets, there is still a part of me that loves to do things the old-fashioned way. As I’ve mentioned before, I love journals and fancy pens! There is definitely a certain appeal to trying out this idea. So, I bought myself some index cards and I’m giving it a whirl.

I was poking around, trying to find some ideas for how to begin, and there are lots of great sites and resources. One in particular caught my attention, though, because a) it includes a list of most of the resources I’ve found already and b) the author made me laugh and, at points, think “hey! that’s me!” So I am re-blogging that post here, in case this has intrigued you at all. Be sure to let me know if you plan to try it out as well!

So, I went a little crazy with my Hipster PDA. I have 7, count ’em, 7 different types and sizes of index cards, and I’ve experimented with all the different mods, color combinations, templates and tricks you can imagine. Below is a list of Hipster PDA resources as well as a summary of what I’ve learned.  … Read More

via Slow Burn Productions

P.S. Here’s a sneak peek at the one I’ve got in the works so far:

Time & Attention

Looking for some motivation (and a few laughs)?! Look no further:

Who Moved My Brain? Revaluing Time and Attention

[For more awesomeness from Merlin Mann, check out How To Use 43 Folders]

Getting Things Done

I have my own little systems that I have developed over the years to help me manage my life to where my ADD doesn’t really mess things up too much. They work pretty well, but I am always looking to improve on them (read: simplify them). I have made abundant use of elaborate planners and “systems” in the past, but I have to admit I usually don’t stick with it and then find I wasted money on a really nice planner that is now out-of-date. So, needless to say, I’ve gotten a little bit of a bad taste in my mouth in regards to “systems”.

I generally just use a notebook and/or a small weekly planner to keep track of my doctor appointments, classes, and due dates for schoolwork. Pretty simple. Except that now I am trying to duplicate it on both my calendar at work and my Google calendar (the latter is actually great because I can share it with my boyfriend and he shares his with me, so we don’t have to ask each other “when was that ___ again?”). This works ok, but I have to remember to update three places, so it can be a pain.

Anyway, that system (if you want to call it that) is working fairly decently for me and if I see ways to make it better, I will. I’ve tried incorporating a “to do” list with these calendars. First I used the Tasks function in Google Calendar. Then I found a cute app on my Android phone called Astrid that synced with it and reminded me to do things. Then I also signed up for Producteev, which is awesome, and also syncs with Astrid, and I think Google Tasks and…. well, then it got really complicated instead of really simple. As a result, I don’t think I’ve used any of those three things in a long while. My to do list is now written on a piece of paper, shoved in my bag, and hopefully remembered and looked at again before the due dates pass.

My point in all of this is that I can usually get myself somewhere on time, with the use of copious amounts of alarms and reminder emails (thank you Google Calendar/phone/Outlook), but I still have a hard time with getting things done. This is especially hard for me when it comes to long term projects in school, because (as I am rapidly learning) planning out a design project is nothing like planning out a paper. Not to mention my issues with procrastination!

In case you were wondering, these issues don’t really apply when I am at work because I have a fairly ironed out process for keeping everything organized and it hasn’t failed me yet. But it doesn’t really translate to my projects outside of work, not to mention that when I am at my desk I have everything in front of me – my computer is on and Outlook is open, my notebook is open to a to do list or messages to return. In my “real life” that never happens on a consistent basis.

So, today, I was reading something (I forget what now) that led me to thinking about project planning – and, more specifically, project planners. I have to be honest and say that, even though I have never really been successful with them, I still get really excited about a new, blank, possibly-the-one planner. Ditto for notebooks/journals and writing implements in general.

And that’s when I stumbled across a page about the Getting Things Done (or GTD) system. Apparently it is kind of cultish, which turned me off, but then I saw this page and actually laughed a little when I read the “GTD is geek-friendly” section. So me! So, I don’t know much about it, and I might hate it, but I am going to check it out and see if it will help me stay on top of my homework and design projects. Who knows, maybe it will even help me manage my blog, =)