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Hey, dilettantiquity, wanna come and brainstorm with me? I'm having fun trying to design my own hPDA system! (Of course, everyone else is welcome to brainstorm, too, and if you don't know what I'm talking about, read on)!

I've already posted about my decision to give FlyLady another try (and so far it's going well. My sink will be shiny before I go to bed tonight, and my refrigerator (the outside anyway :D) is spotless. I've already got tomorrow covered - we're supposed to go through and get rid of wonky tupperware containers (stuff without lids, or pieces that are melted or mangled). I don't really have any tupperware here, so that's easy enough. I'll probably try and organize my pots and pans cabinet, though. Plus, Connor put away all his legos before he went to bed tonight, so the living room is actually habitable.

I've also started on my Control Journal, and here's where it's getting interesting. A while ago, dilettantiquity posted about Lifehacking, and I was interested right away. It's taken me a bit of time to get myself motivated to find out more; today, I started doing just that. Basically, it's all about finding systems for time management, information management, schedules, etc. that work FOR YOU. It's not about following someone else's system, because no two people have the exact same needs. This really resonates with me, since I've tried a few different systems, but haven't been able to stick with one. Franklin is the one I liked best (I was using it before Covey became involved; I'm sure I'll incorporate things from that system in whatever I create for myself). I also love the idea of coming up with my own system, something that I'm making myself, the idea being that I'll be more attached to it, and more likely to actually use it, instead of neglecting it.

So . . . here are my ideas so far:

I've started using Google Calendar, or gCal*, and so far I really like it. It will be extra great when Kevin gets set up with an account, and we can share a calendar - so I'll know which nights he has business dinners, and he'll know which nights I have things to do, or when he needs to take Connor to art class on a Saturday because I have a class of my own that day, etc. I like having my calendar on the computer; that is easy for me in terms of inputting data, plus it pops up reminders for me if I ask for them. Trouble is, I can't exactly carry that with me, can I? And I hate the idea of entering all my data twice - once in the computer, and once into a paper calendar. Once upon a time, I could have used my Treo for this (I'm pretty sure it's possible to sync the information from one to the other) but I loaned it to Kevin when he moved out here, and he kinda never gave it back. :D

SO . . . I've come up with an idea to try. I got the idea from Pocket Mod, which allows you to print out tiny, somewhat customized planners. I just needed a calendar, though, that already has my gCal data, so I figured out how to print up four months-worth on one 8 1/2 x 11 page, in a way that I could fold it into a little book. It took a bit of time to figure out how to format things the first time, but I wrote it all down, so next time I need to print one, I should be able to do it quickly:

gCal calendar page

Here's how it looks folded:

Calendar, folded

Now, I can carry this with me, so I can check to see when I'm free for things, and also keep track of appointments I make while I'm out and about. It does mean that I'll need to enter data I write here into gCal (but I'd have had to do that at some point anyway). And when this page gets full, or unreadable for any reason, I'll just print out a new one.

The happy thing about this size is that it fits perfectly into the little book that I'm planning to turn into my first (modified) Hipster PDA. While I like the idea of index cards, a couple of weeks ago I bought this gorgeous leather book, and I really want to use it. So, I'm going to adapt the Moleskine hack and give it a try:

Soon-to-be hPDA

This book, btw, has a refillable journal inside, so I'll be able to replace it when I've filled up the original book. OR I can just make my own. OMG THIS IS THE COOLEST THING EVER. I want to make one NOW. Just think - I could include my own customized pages - to-do lists with check boxes, pre-printed contact information for friends and family, anything at all, really. Yes, it looks like a bit of a project, but I've tackled crafty things of this scale before. Sounds like a good project to try with Connor. He would dig making his own book! In any case, I like the idea of keeping track of projects and my running "to do" list in a low-tech book; somehow, I've never liked online "to do" lists. (Although I think I'll try to use Remember the Milk for lists that I want to share with Kevin; we can both build shopping lists online, so whomever goes to the store has a handy list right there).

Question, dilettantiquity: have you read David Allen's book? If so, what did you think? I've got it on order from Amazon, and I'm feeling like I don't want to get too carried away until I've at least read through his system. And yet, I'm excited about this and I want to start NOW. :D

Oh . . . but we're not done yet. At the start, I mentioned my Control Journal, and this is the other thing I want to incorporate. I think it will be handy for me to have my Evening, Morning, Afternoon, and each weekday routines incorporated into this system. I sure don't want two journals. I'm thinking that I'll put these at the *end* of my book, so that they're never behind the "processed" tag. Then I can check those pages first, at the appropriate time of day, and hopefully stay on track with the things I want to do.

Let's see. I think that's all the ideas I have for right now. Right now, I'm trying not to get carried away. Baby steps are good. Of course, it doesn't hurt to try things; if they don't work, I just make adjustments down the road. This is fun. And, ultimately, this will help me be more productive. There are so many things I want to do, and at this time in my life, I have the time to do a great many of them; I just need to be more efficient with the way I plan my days. (Well, okay, so it's more accurate to say, "I just need to start planning my days, period).

I'd love to hear thoughts from any of you, whether you've done similar things before or not. If an idea has popped into your head, share it here! :)

*I'm not sure what will happen when you click on that link; It takes me to my calendar, but I think you'll just go to the home page unless you already have a calendar of your own set up there. If it doesn't work at all, sorry!


( 20 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 11th, 2007 12:33 pm (UTC)
Oh, here_be_dragons, this post triggered a whole lot of things that have been floating around in my head and I started writing and writing and writing... one thing that I would add before I jump into pasting all my brainstorming into multiple comments is just to note that my life really is genuinely better and happier now than it has been in a long time. Not because I found someone's system that 'changed my life', but I think because I made a commitment to look hard at the things in my life that weren't working for me, and to replace them with new things that were better. I'm very new at this (September is only my third month!) and I'm only taking the first steps, but I'm genuinely into self-understanding and life-improvement for the long run.


I haven't read the book, but I've spent a lot of time reading David's website and other GTD blogs. Some of the principles are great, and I've certainly used them. Next Actions is the BEST THING EVER. I'm re-training my brain to think in small concrete steps rather than being battered into procrastination by fear of the bigger picture. When I feel anxious and stressed, I sometimes even write down my next ten Next Actions onto a card and it helps me to relax and get through something that seemed overwhelming.

There are plenty of people out there who say GTD changed their lives, and plenty more who say it wasn't quite right for them, but I think there are things in it for everyone, even without taking on the whole system. (Zen Habits proposes an alternative, ZTD, for people who find changing a whole lot of habits at once ineffective: http://zenhabits.net/2007/04/zen-to-done-ztd-the-ultimate-simple-productivity-system/) I'll be really interested to hear how you enjoy the book, and what parts of GTD you'll be interested in using.


I'm wary of aggregating an unrealistic number of sites and tools, but RTM plugs into gCal! It adds a little tick at the top of each day you can click on and view the RTM tasks due that day, and those with no due date.

Also, our timezone is a bit out, so when I get the FlyLady sneak peek email on Monday morning, I make an RTM 'Zone Mission' task for each day from Mon-Fri and paste Kelly's instructions in the 'Notes' section for the task. Then I can tick them off neatly from my gCal as I complete the missions and see them alongside everything else I have on that day.

gCal Layers / Calendars:

velvetbutter and I have our household calendar, and I have my RTM notifications, but I also wanted something to...set the tone for each day, I suppose. I made a lovely little purple calendar layer which simply shows an all-day event on various days of the week. Monday is Weekly Goal Setting Day (I make a little list of three realistic things I want done that week and add them to RTM with a deadline of the end of the week), Tuesday is Pamper Yourself Day, Wednesday is Anti-Procrastination Day, Thursday is Errand Day, Saturday is Return Borrowed Stuff Day and Sunday is Weekly Home Blessing Day. They make nice little mental triggers; when I look at my calendar I think 'Oh, it's Errand Day; do I have any errands that need running?' I like them because they don't add work - they have no defined goals or actions associated - but they do set a theme for the day and help me organise myself.
Sep. 11th, 2007 12:34 pm (UTC)
My Hipster PDA:

This has been totally pared back since I first made it; with gCal and RememberTheMilk taking care of a lot of things for me, I realised that it was becoming more of an info capture device than anything. So it has slimmed down to just a bundle of colourful notecards cards held together by the same bulldog clip, still attached to the inside of my handbag. And by the way; PocketMod? Also very cool.

Physical Folders:

I wrote a while back about how much the Action/Archive/Hold email folder system had helped me and since it works for me, I've tried to extend it into other areas. Most notably, I have Action/Inbox/Hold trays (no Archive, because things that are done go into the formal filing system here) at the office, and also have Action/to-Archive/Hold clear A4 sleeves in my briefcase. (aka Office in a Bag - I made my own to suit me and it's so GREAT - I can do all my stuff from anywhere using it - I'm a techno-nomad!) I think the three categories really resonate for me, because instead of receiving an object/piece of information/document and asking an open-ended questions ('what should I do with this?'), I get to ask a simpler question ('should I act on it, put it away, or keep it until a future event triggers it?') Needless to say, cleaning out the Hold folder regularly is rather important to making this work!

Some things I've noticed recently:

Motivation & Sustainable Habits - Going "I should do it now because I'm motivated" gets things done, well, now. Which is great. However I'm learning to be wary of the flipside which conditions my brain into thinking "I shouldn't do it now because I'm not motivated." Which is to say, motivation is great and I should use it, but I think I'll do better in the long run if I reserve a little of that enthusiasm and energy and redirect it towards developing small, sustainable habits. On a practical level, learning to be a bit tidier in the kitchen and clean up as I go is more useful than one massive weekend of scrubbing.

My Own Systems - Yes, yes, yes! I love the way that Lifehacking principles are finding things that work for me and my household, rather than some overarching set of principles that I have to conform to. It frees me to try things and change things when they don't work, instead of trying things and 'failing' when they don't work. It also helps me break the cycle of 'GTD didn't work on this one point, it must be no good; I disagree with FlyLady on this one point, so her system must be no good either...' and so forth.

Perfectionism - Ohh, this is the killer for me. It makes me do nothing when I can't do it perfectly. It makes me invest waaaay too much time getting things perfect when they would have been fine to leave. It makes the negative voices in my head tell me that I won't stick with living well because what's the point when I can't be a superwoman and do everything exactly right. And I'm fighting it, because perfectionism is full of lies and silliness! Every morning, my brain tells me 'you won't stick with this' and I say 'yes I will; I already am!' FlyLady's rule about not being behind and just jumping in where you are helps me a lot; otherwise I get panicky at the weight of 'unfinished' things behind me.
Sep. 11th, 2007 12:35 pm (UTC)
Habit Tracking - This is helping with my War on Perfectionism! I printed out the chart on Productivity501 and stuck it on my fridge and wrote down all the things on it that I was avoidant about; things that I would have liked to do regularly, but I somehow always slipped back into old habits when I tried. (Eat breakfast, go to the gym, meditate, 15 minutes decluttering, call my mum, shine my sink, clear my Inbox...) And you know what? This is really working for me. My goal each day is to tick four of the boxes on my list - any four. Doesn't matter if the rest don't get done; this list is not to force me to do unrealistic amounts of things, it's just to let me see how things are tracking on a bigger scale. And I LOVE ticking the boxes, so I often do more than my four and feel good about myself when I check them off at night. I'm told it takes around a month to establish a new habit, and I find this list is a nice way of monitoring the effort I've put into forming the habits I'd really love to have. (I haven't skipped breakfast for two months - the longest duration in my whole life, and I've been to the gym three times a week for the past month!)

Thinking About Blocks - I'm starting to be more analytical about WHY things sometimes don't work. If I really don't want to do something, I take a quiet moment to ask myself why. If mess continually aggregates in one places, I do the same. And, if I consistently slip backwards and am not able to establish a specific habit, the same. Turns out that my brain is FULL of ideas on how to make things better, if I just ask it! Apparently, the reason I wasn't using my habit list was because I didn't keep a pen near the fridge and was put off by having to go look for them. And I didn't do my laundry because I hated sorting it, so the brain and I went on a shopping excursion and bought three baskets so I could pre-sort as I undressed. If things don't work, the brain and I try not to blame ME for it anymore, and come up with clever ways to make them work better instead.

Timing - This is somewhat of a GTD thing- if I see something that needs to be done and takes less than 2 minutes to do, I try to do it now, instead of going 'oh, I'll need to do that later'. This has been a difficult habit for me to form, but when I really, really am resisting doing whatever the thing is, I've taken to counting the seconds taken to complete it in my head. Did you know it only takes twenty five seconds to sweep some soil the cats have dug up back into the flower bed, and fill the kitty water bowl in the courtyard? I had no idea it was so small a job until I counted! Why on earth was I always putting it off?

Walls - Some things are just really hard for me. Establishing an early bedtime, for a career night owl? Hard. Decluttering spaces where I was emotionally attached to a lot of the objects? Really hard. I've been hitting walls on things like this, and also more general walls where I don't WANT to tidy up after myself or clean my sink because I'm having a bad day. Instead of getting frustrated and giving up, I've been trying to have a gentle talk with myself about the nature of the wall and what babysteps and Next Actions I can take to make some measure of progress. More with the helping inner voice and less with the critical one!

Technicalities Count - Even if I meditated for just five minutes and my mind was distracted, I get a tick on my chart for meditation. If fifteen minutes of decluttering consisted of ten minutes of angsting about a particular object before making a decision, I get a tick for decluttering. If I wiped my sink down but didn't polish it or dry it, I get a tick for having a shiny sink. This is part of breaking through walls and blocks, and also massive part of my War on Perfectionism. The front page of my Control Journal adapts one of FlyLady's sayings and reads "Housework done incorrectly still blesses your family, and this includes your kitty family." :) When I get home tonight, I'll add "technicalities count!" to that page too!
Sep. 11th, 2007 01:29 pm (UTC)
The Habit Tracking chart looks FANTASTIC! I love the idea of that (and matching it with "technicalities count" - that's long been an issue of mine. Well, I didn't finish, so it doesn't count AT ALL. One of the things I like about Chore Wars is that you can claim partial experience points. So, even if I don't finish something, I can still give myself a pat on the back for doing part of it). I am totally going to give this a try. I'm like you, I ADORE ticking off check boxes. When I used to use the Franklin system (which is very task and priority oriented), I would often write on my lists things I'd already done, just so I could feel good about checking them off. :D

I'm still trying to get a good picture of what my blocks are, so right now, I don't think I'm ready to start looking for solutions for most of them yet; I don't understand enough about why my home is like this. Except for a vague sense that it is tied up with my self-esteem (it's a way I show disrespect for myself) - oh, and the fact that I live with a very messy eight-year-old. (Although he's starting to join in; he loves claiming points for Chore Wars, and with some reminding he's starting to put away his toys before bed, and put his own dirty dishes in the dishwasher). We all need to build new habits. So, I want to go slowly, so I can keep having "wins" (like looking at my kitchen now and seeing the shiny sink, instead of focusing on the five loads of laundry that need to be put away in the bedroom; at least the clothes are clean, right?). :D

Thanks for all this, H. I love being able to toss ideas back and forth like this, and I'm off now to check out that Zen link. *hugs*
Sep. 11th, 2007 11:17 pm (UTC)
The FlyLady 'doing a little bit of something then stopping' concept has been helping a bit with bigger tasks - it's something I've never done before (MUST...HAVE...COMPLETENESS) but it's so cool to say to myself 'let's put away just a couple of those pieces of laundry while waiting for the kettle to boil' and seeing how quickly the pile can go down. Again, something that doesn't come naturally to me - yet. But I'm working on it. :)

With the blocks, I haven't really been looking at the big ones (such as 'why do I feel so bad about myself that I make myself live in chaos!?') but have been doing it on a tiny, tiny micro scale. More like identifying that I feel resistant to something and keeping an eye out for better ways of doing it while I get it done. The laundry has been my greatest success with this - once I realised that the confusion of the unsorted laundry was blocking me from doing it and replaced the big basket in the bedroom with three small ones, it took NO effort to throw a presorted load into the washing machine when I got home from work.

Thank you SO much for the ideas and the brainstorming - it's so great to have a friend who is on the same path! (And we're even alike enough that quite a lot of the same things work for us both, which is really cool!) *mwah*
Sep. 11th, 2007 01:22 pm (UTC)
I'm using the Action/Archive/Hold system right now for my e-mail, and so far, so good. Mostly, all I've really done is delete all the messages that didn't require my attention, and sort out the ones that do. I haven't yet tackled my "action" box (well, I've done a little bit, but I would like to get it empty in the somewhat near future). But the inbox is in good shape, which I like. That gives me a good feeling, even if it isn't entirely what I'd like (which is all messages ANSWERED), but it helps me not feel guilty and disgruntled about it. I think I'll try and extend this system to my real papers, too - right now, I have a sort of "to do" box, and there's another pile of heaven knows what on the counter next to me, oh, and some papers on the couch, and . . . yes! Another couple of piles on the table behind me. Also, there's a drawer (maybe two) in my bedroom where there are some other papers tucked away. All this in addition to my "filing" system, which is admittedly rudimentary because I'm living here and most of my "stuff" is in California, but that's no excuse. I'm looking forward to reading the details of his system, and seeing how I can make it work for me. I've tried some other systems in the past (and some of them are good; I've just never gotten in the habit of filing regularly, and a year's worth of unfiled papers is a nightmare no matter how pretty your system is). Right now, I just have a bunch of files stuck randomly in a fileholder thingy. Heh. Yeah, room for improvement. :D

I am really working on the perfectionism right now, and I think I'm making some progress. I'm really trying not to push myself with the FlyLady stuff, by which I mean trying to peek ahead and feel like I'm "there." My house is not clean yet (although it's actually in much better shape right now that it's typically been over the past several years; it would only take me about five minutes to get the living room to a point where I wouldn't be embarrassed for someone to drop by. And really, that's just because Connor opened a new set of legos and there are some plastic bags laying around). So, for me, that's amazing progress. I'm doing really well with the sink and the dishes, and kind of not worrying about the rest of it. I figure I'll get there when I get there, and if I can build these habits one at a time, maybe they'll stick.

That's one of the things that scares me about this. I've tried all this before, and always failed in the past. (I might not have done these exact same things before, but I've done time management - Franklin, which is a really good system when I was using it - and I've cleaned and organized my house, only to have it fall back into ruin. So what's different this time? Part of me is afraid that I just can't do this, and I have to keep reminding myself that I *can* and *am* doing this. What's different? Well, the obvious is that I'm living in a small place right now, with only a fraction of my "stuff" so this seems like a good "training" ground for me. If I can control this environment, I can build up my "muscles" for when I'm back in a big house again. (And hopefully get used to the idea of living with less, and maybe I can just GET RID of bunches of the stuff back in California). Also, I'm different. It's unfair to myself to assume that I can't change, that I can't grow, that I can't learn something new. So, I'm trying to give myself the benefit of the doubt. I think that letting go of "if it's not all done perfectly NOW it doesn't count" will be an important part of this for me.

Oh - and yes, you're so right about "GTD didn't work on this one point, so it's lame." That's what happened to me last time with FlyLady. I decided I couldn't shine my sink (that was Kevin's responsibility), and I read somewhere that people who weren't willing to do that really couldn't use the system, so I gave it up. I don't think I'll want to use her entire system as is, but I can use pieces. And pieces from GTD, and pieces from what I learned years ago from Franklin. And maybe make up some of my own stuff, as well. :)
Sep. 11th, 2007 11:07 pm (UTC)
"That's one of the things that scares me about this. I've tried all this before, and always failed in the past. (I might not have done these exact same things before, but I've done time management - Franklin, which is a really good system when I was using it - and I've cleaned and organized my house, only to have it fall back into ruin. So what's different this time? Part of me is afraid that I just can't do this, and I have to keep reminding myself that I *can* and *am* doing this."

Wow, I could have written this myself - it sums up exactly what I'm going through at the moment too. One of the things that helps a little is reminding myself that my goal this time is not to keep the house tidy or the bin empty or anything else like that - my goal is not the doing of these things, but the making of them natural and habitual so that I do them without thinking about it or having to try. I'm trying to make living well as effortless as possible and I'm trying to cultivate habits and implement systems that mean LESS effort and not more to achieve the same ends.
Sep. 12th, 2007 01:42 am (UTC)
my goal is not the doing of these things, but the making of them natural and habitual so that I do them without thinking about it or having to try.

Oh, I like that. I think my conscious goal at this time still is about getting the house clean, and being more "productive." (Doing things like finishing photo albums and maybe even getting a final draft of one of my novels completed). I guess if I step back from those things just a bit, my real goal is to stop frittering away my time on activities that really don't support my priorities in life. (Like checking e-mail and LJ obsessively, and playing Iron Sudoku for hours on end). I like the way you've framed your goals, though. When your goal is to gradually make something a habit, instead of I HAVE TO DO THIS NOW OR FAIL, well, that's a far more positive way of approaching the issue, isn't it?

I've got a bunch of other stuff in my head right now, but I'm feeling really tired. One of the things I want to start doing is getting to bed earlier. I've been going to bed at midnight (which is early for me; at least it was, with our old schedule). But it's just not getting me the sleep I need, when I have to be up around 7 (and I often can't fall to sleep right away). I'm going to try and be in bed by 11.00 every night, and see if that works better.

OH! There was one other thing I wanted to mention, though. A bullet-point from some article I read today really resonated with me: "Never, never start your day with distractions, like checking e-mail [or reading LJ]. It eats up time and leaves you feeling pressured and stressed when you snap out of it and discover most of the morning has been spent on useless trivia." OMG that's exactly what I do. I sit down at the computer and before I know it, it's noon and I've done NOTHING of substance. I think I'm going to try and discipline myself to do something away from the computer each day before I allow myself to check e-mail and LJ. Or maybe just do this a couple of days a week to start. I know that in the past when I've limited myself to only checking e-mails a couple of times a day, I DID get a lot more done. It's really difficult for me, though. I have to actually quit my mail program, or the little red numbers on my toolbar (telling me how many new messages I have) are too much temptation. :D

BTW; I've got a copy of "Getting Things Done" which I'm going to try and read (at least parts of) tonight. When I'm finished, do you want me to send it your way?

(Icon, just because). :)
Sep. 11th, 2007 01:43 pm (UTC)
Oh - and something that just occurred to me about perfectionism.

I think one area I would like to tackle is my e-mails. I think part of the reason I have such a backlog, is that I feel like I have to be IN THE MOOD to answer back (especially if it's something reasonably important, or to a good friend and I don't want to come across with the wrong "tone" or something; I still have some fears that I'm being rude without intending to be). Also, this means that I feel like I need to write longer, rather than shorter, e-mails. A short email means I don't care, right? *facepalms* So, I don't write at all. (Which, surely, puts across a MUCH stronger message of not caring).

I think I need to let go of my perfection. Twitter has helped me do this with blogging. An LJ entry takes some time to write, and then time to proof-read, etc. I love being able to just jot down my thoughts quickly. Sometimes, anyway.

I'm practicing with these messages, btw. I'm just writing them and sending them, without going back to re-read them three times to check for spelling errors, or whatever. Very unlike me, but it means I can write and send them today (instead of, um, never, because I never get in the "mood" to write them), and it also means I'm not using up half my morning on proof-reading. I hope this doesn't come across as me "not caring." ;) Now, I'm going to go and tackle my inbox, and try and send some concise (but not rude!) e-mail responses. :)
Sep. 11th, 2007 11:09 pm (UTC)
I get the having to feel IN THE MOOD to do things - emails, cleaning, cooking, anything. One of the email habits I'm trying to establish is processing as things come in, as much as possible, and I am getting better at it. It still feels weird though!
Sep. 11th, 2007 01:10 pm (UTC)
(OOH! Thanks for all this, H). I'm going to answer each one separately . . .

I have got RTM plugged into gCal, but I don't like it. For one, I don't like having to click on the checkmark. If it would just import my tasks onto the calendar, that might be more helpful. Also, if I check an item as "complete" at gCal, it crashes my browser the next time I go to RTM. Plus, I kind of like writing out certain things by hand, and checking them off by hand. It's more satisfying for me. So, I probably won't use RTM all that much, as it's easier for me to keep that stuff in a paper notebook.

I love the idea of the "theme" days. I'm still working out which days will be which (today, I've got marked down as my "errand" day, but really I think it will end up being "grocery shopping" day, as that's what I really need to do after school today). I love the idea of having the reminder there, without necessarily having a ton of tasks that I *have* to do. That gets depressing. :D
Sep. 11th, 2007 10:55 pm (UTC)
Bad RTM, crashing your browser! Paper and pen sounds like the way to go. :)
Sep. 11th, 2007 01:36 pm (UTC)
I like the ZTD ideas! Some of it doesn't quite make sense yet, because he refers to GTD things that I haven't yet learned, but for sure I'm going to incorporate number one right now. I can capture things into my little notebook. That was one of the things I loved about Franklin - when you always have your planner/hPDA/whatever with you, you can write something down RIGHT AWAY. Then, your mind is free to stop obsessing about it. "OH! I need to remember this when I get home!" or the worst for me is lying in bed "HOW WILL I REMEMBER TO DO THIS IN THE MORNING?" Once it's written down, YAY. I can forget it until the next time I see it in my book. (Of course, I got into trouble here with Franklin; it's all well and good to write things down, but reminders only work if you LOOK at them again at some point in the future. That's why I love gCal and the pop-up reminders).
Sep. 11th, 2007 11:08 pm (UTC)
As someone long described as 'scatterbrained', I totally endorse information capture in all its forms! It's great stress reduction. :)
Sep. 12th, 2007 01:01 am (UTC)
Just wanted to tell you both I've been reading this thread and your various entries re organisation/habits etc with great interest. When I get back to Australia, I'm planning on getting back into my own schedule and to do a bit of a life spring clean and start up some new habits. Once I've started, I might well try some of these ideas of yours or pick your brains for some hints for the areas which aren't working so well.

Love you both, and apologies I have nothing terribly constructive to add here.

V x
Sep. 12th, 2007 01:45 am (UTC)
YAY! No apologies - that's why I'm posting this here. Well, partly to have a place to toss around ideas, but also in the hopes that others will be inspired. The only reason I'm doing all this at this particular time in my life is that H posted stuff in her journal and got me interested. If this conversation passes that along to you . . . WIN!

How much longer will you be in Scotland?
Sep. 12th, 2007 08:08 am (UTC)
I too was inspired by H's posts. I think I am naturally fairly organised, buit there's always room for improvement - and I think that techie Mark might enjoy and benefit from a few of these systems.

This time next week - back home.

Sep. 14th, 2007 03:33 am (UTC)
Oh, FlyLady! I did her system for a while, many years ago. (At the time, I even found a parody called "Flypaper Lady" but I just tried Googling for that, and it didn't show up.)

The FlyLady system wasn't bad, but I realized that I really wanted a system to organize my life, not just my house. I think I'll take a look at Likehacking.org -- thanks for the link!

As for the Treo and calendars, I've never used a Treo, but I have a Palm Tungsten (same sort of platform, I think) that I like a lot. I sync it with my Outlook Calendar, and that's very helpful. The only problem is, I'll do things like have an appointment for 5 p.m., and set a reminder for 12 hours earlier. Not a problem when the reminder goes off on my desktop computer, since it's in another room, but it's a bit annoying if my Palm is on the nightstand, and the reminder goes off at 5 a.m. ...
Sep. 14th, 2007 04:03 am (UTC)
I'm in the process of putting together a whole new system, like you said, to organize my life. The FlyLady stuff is really helpful, as getting control of this messy house is one of my main priorities. But I also just want to manage my time better in general. Some of her stuff is helping with that, too, but I'm also reading a book called "Getting Things Done" by David Allen which is really helping me get started with a new system. There's a whole "movement" based on his stuff, commonly known as GTD (if you google that, or Getting Things Done you'll find a whole bunch more stuff; or follow my del.icio.us link at the left and click my "lifehacks" tag, and his website is there). It's mostly geared towards productivity and organization for business people, but he's clear that anyone can use it. His big thing is to get everything out of your head, and written down somewhere, in a trusted system where you'll find it again when you need it, so your mind can stop thinking about all the things you need to DO all the time. In this regard, it's similar to the Franklin system which I used for a long time (although my use was really on/off; I never kept with it for more than a few months at a time); he does things just differently enough, though, that I think I might really like this a lot better. And hopefully, stick with it. I'll probably post about my entire system as soon as I've got it in place (or at least v1 in place :D).

I liked my Treo, but I think I'll be fine without it. There is something more satisfying for me about actually writing some things down with pen and paper (although I do like getting reminders on my computer; I'm trying to set them up in gCal so they're hitting at times when I'll see them; not 5 in the morning. :D :D :D). I'll keep you posted on how this stuff is working for me, and please, check out the links. :)
Sep. 16th, 2007 10:26 am (UTC)
Thanks for the info! I'd like to get better organized, so I'm interested in seeing how this works out for you.
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