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Lifehacking

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!

Comments

dilettantiquity
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.
here_be_dragons
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). :)
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