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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

judyserenity
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. ...
here_be_dragons
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. :)
judyserenity
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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