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How Doug Stole Christmas

Doug as Grinch


Image courtesy Brad Reid (www.bradreid.com).

Greetings all and welcome to the Christmas edition of Steve's Paper-Based Column Of Insanity. Yes, that's right, only one name this week. I'm so excited about today's column that I'm not going to waste time coming up with other silly names. This is the column that I believe can make it into the top ten, so be sure and tell your friends. This week we have that classic tale of Christmas mischief and Christmas spirit, the story of how Douglas Johnston (who has since seen the light and now runs this site) tried to stop Christmas from coming to Carbonear, Newfoundland by taking everyone's D*I*Y Planners so that no one knew who to give presents to (everybody get that? Good:). This is the tale of how Doug tried to steal Christmas from the Newfs (including the heartbeat of every Newf celebration, that famous alcoholic invention, Newfie Screech) and eventually saw the true meaning of Christmas. Prepare to have your hearts warmed and your planners swiped, as we present

How Doug Stole Christmas (With all apologies to the late Dr. Seuss.)

Personality Type At The Office Christmas Party

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Christmas greetings to all. I was talking with my son about personality type (as many people do, of course) and we got talking about what happens at office Christmas parties. Steve said, "Hey, that would make a good post for D*I*Y Planner, Dad." I agreed, so here we are.

You'll recall a post I did a few weeks ago on the basics of personality type (you can find it here if you'd like to refresh yourself on what type you are). I’ve been talking about psychological type and how we can take advantage of it in our businesses, but much of the most interesting stuff that happens in business happens at the office Christmas party. Now, I'm currently self-employed and so my office parties are a little thin, but I have been to many of them and it seems to me that two things happen. Sometimes, people can be pretty well guaranteed to act out their type, just more so, and thus we know if these people are going to be super social, fairly reserved, or so on. Other times, people will become almost the opposite of who they normally are, as --usually under the influence of booze-- the neglected (or opposite) side of their personality comes through, sometimes with ugly results. We each have all aspects of type in us, but we're better at using some of them than others and Christmas parties are one of those times when those other parts of our personalities come out, causing interesting things to happen. This doesn't mean that people suddenly become pyromaniacs or a cannibals (usually), but it does mean that we may barely recognize the person we're talking to.

With that in mind, here are some of the things you're likely to see at parties this holiday season....

New Year's Resolutions

Manage your New Year's Resolutions by coming up with several ways to fulfill them

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Usage advice: 

If you had a hard time keeping last year's New Year Resolutios, try this template. =) Instead of making a resolution like "Go to the gym every week", think of the outcome ("Be in better health"), and then come up with several ways to make progress ("Eat vegetables", etc.). That way, if you don't feel like going to the gym, you have other ways to make progress. You can use the grid to keep track of your progress or write down extra notes. Have fun!

Paper size: 
Classic (5.5 x 8.5)
License: 
Creative Commons
Applications required: 
PDF Reader (Adobe Reader, Mac OS X Preview)
Language: 
English

Writing, and Avoiding Digital Distractions

In the recent stripping down of my life into the essential component parts, I've come to realise how sticking to the basics enables me to create content without distraction. In a way, it's very much in line with my return to a paper planner: eliminate the diversions and leave yourself free to think -- I've written about this sort of thing before (here and here), but in the context of productivity. The act of writing, however, is very much a day-to-day task for me, and the true focus of most of my productive hours, so it's essential to do it efficiently and effectively. That's where the dreaded three-headed hydra of distraction lies, and has to be conquered daily.

Now, I think I've used almost every type of text editor, word processor, mark-up system (e.g., LaTeX, SGML, HTML and XML), outliner, web-based editor, and personal content management system over the past 20-odd years. I'm to the point where I can compare and contrast how various systems and methods work for me. I've learned that --for me to truly write quickly, creatively and well-- the key is keeping things basic and focussed.

Santa's Hipster PDA

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Greetings and welcome once again to Steve's column of Paper Based Something or Other. Whatever. I'm feeling too festive to care. Everywhere I go, people are putting on festive outfits, putting up festive decorations and freezing their festive butts off. Well, this is Canada, after all. We had a very mild November around here, but the temperature has dropped dramatically in the last week or so. I'm not sure why scientists feel like they have to send probes to see what it's like on the dark side of the moon. All they need to do is come to Canada in February, when it's -40 C around here. Actually, it could be worse: my old roommate was from Saskatchawen, a very flat province, where the wind has about 500 miles to build up speed and the temperature sometimes drops to -60 C. -60! At -60 your teeth freeze. Your teeth! That's cold. If NASA wants a challenge, they should try to set up a base in Saskatchewan. I'd give them two weeks.

Anyway, I'm a little off-track here, but that's just because my brain's cold. Today's topic is Santa's Hipster PDA.

Bookbinding 102: An Intermediate Book

Last week I gave you instructions to creating your first book using little more than paper, an awl and some thread or ribbon. This week I’ll take you one step further and how you how to make a slightly more complex book. Instead of using one signature, we’re going to up the ante and make a book using 4 signatures with 5 folios each. Of course, you’re always welcome to modify the instructions and come up with more or less signatures or folios. This week’s book is going to be a lot smaller than the digest sized book but still usable for jotting down thoughts or sketching your life.

I’m going to be honest with you, the book we’re going to make comes straight from another book called The Decorative Journal, by Gwen Diehn. However, I’ve rewritten and interpretated Diehn’s instructions to make them easier and more web-friendly to understand and follow. The Decorative Journal is a great book to add to your collection because it combines the love of bookbinding and journalling with practical knowledge and examples. This book has lots of bookmaking projects as well as different types of journalling activities that will keep you writing and expressing yourself throughout the next year. It’s a great source book just for inspiration alone. And quite frankly, the intermediate journal we're making from this book is one of the better hands-on "102" bookbinding samples I have seen that doesn’t scare people with obscure sewing diagrams and gluing instructions.

Pounding Square People Into Round Holes

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Personality type can be incredibly helpful at work. Personality type gives us helpful information about how we take in and process information, how we make decisions and tells us what we good at and, often more importantly, what we're bad at and why. It helps us work more efficiently, take more joy in what we do, helps us get along with other people and even helps make our personal lives easier and more enjoyable. So who could argue with that?

People often complain that they don’t want to use personality type because it pigeon holes people. It is important to understand their concern, as no one wants to feel like their squareness is being pounded into a round hole (don't try these metaphors at home, they can be fatal). In the case of personality tests, the question is: how legitimate is this complaint?

Tracking Thank-Yous

Thank-you for birthdays and other special occasions

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Usage advice: 

Don't forget a single thank-you card this holiday season with this D*I*Y Planner Thank You tracking form. =) Write down the person and the gift as you open each package, and fill in the checkbox when you send that thank-you note (complete with personal reference to the gift, of course)!

Paper size: 
Classic (5.5 x 8.5)
License: 
Creative Commons
Applications required: 
PDF Reader (Adobe Reader, Mac OS X Preview)
Language: 
English

Turn, Turn, Turn

I hope you'll forgive this rambling and somewhat personal post, but I'm writing it rather hastily at a public terminal in a library while a vulture-nosed man circles about, impatiently tapping his fingers on various surfaces while he clears his throat in the loudest and most guttural ways possible.

I've been offline for more than a week because of moving, and the non-connectivitis is beginning to take its toll. I wonder what's happening with this website, with the outside world, and with all my friends, and I feel like I've been in a prison for a week with no glimpse of sunlight or other humans (although, ironically, I have experienced more sun and interpersonal contact than at any time in the past year). I'm told I should be finally hooked up come Tuesday or Wednesday, but till then the digital isolation continues.