Psychology

Goals and Activities

My first attempt at my own template. I have been reading Julie Morgenstern's "Time Management from the Inside Out" and liked her idea of defining spheres of my life, goals, and activities to achieve each goal. I did it by hand first, but then thought that having a typed version in my new DIY Planner would be more motivating.

The PDF has two blank pages; they have left and right margins if you want to print it double-sided and punched, with room for 8 sections.

The OpenOffice document has two additional pages; The second pair have text fields if you want your goals and activities typeset.

Please do leave feedback, since I'm having a lot of fun with the Widget Kit.

Thumbnail: 
Goals and Activities Thumbnail.jpg
Usage advice: 

1. Enter the various spheres of your life in the rounded rectangles; home, work, health, parenting, etc. I've allowed space for eight, which is probably too many!

2. Define a big, positive goal in the two-line box for each sphere.

3. In the triple checkboxes, decide on three actions/activities that will move you towards that goal.

4. Now, find space for each activity in your weekly/monthly pages!

Paper size: 
Classic (5.5 x 8.5)
License: 
Creative Commons
Applications required: 
Adobe Acrobat
Language: 
English

Break Your Projects Down with Chunking

In Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), there is a concept called chunking. In chunking, a person takes information and either breaks it down into manageable parts (i.e. focusing on the details, or breaking down the information into smaller pieces so that it makes sense in relation to the big picture), or takes a detail and asks questions to fill in the big picture around that detail. Chunking can be a valuable tool to use when you want to understand the different layers of a project. However, chunking can also be used as a method for organizing how you approach a project.

For instance, I use chunking to break my writing projects into manageable projects that don't leave me feeling overwhelmed, or worse unhappy with my progress. Whether I'm researching for my next book or writing it, or writing a newsletter or article like this one, chunking helps me to not only maintain an awareness of the big picture of my project, but also lets me attend to the details of the project. In chunking, I can measure the actions I've taken against both the big picture and the details and know exactly where I am in my project.

The Importance of Memory

Memory is something we deal with every moment of the day, even when it seems like we’re not actively using it. Right now, I’m using my memory of the keyboard to type the words I’m writing. My brain focuses on the content, but while I’m doing that, I’m also remembering what keys to hit in order to make words appear on the screen in front of me. Of course, while I type, I'm not recalling how to type on a conscious level. It's a part of my implicit memory. Today I'm going to talk about memory recall and how you can use the two types of memory to help yourself stay organized.

Memory plays a big role in our life. It allows us to remember skills that we’ve learned, or retrieve information that is stored in the brain, or recall a precious moment that occurred in the past. Memory also organizes information so that when we retrieve it, we can apply that information in the proper context and use it in the current activity we are involved in. In general, we use short term memory to recall information we’ve learned very recently. Long term memory is used to recall information that we’ve learned anytime in the recent past to childhood. In neuroscience, there are some fascinating studies about the types of memory we have access to as well as how memory contributes to the sense of self a person has.

Let Yourself Go: Harnessing the Power of Meditation

Each morning, before I start my day, before I even look at my planner or eat my breakfast, I meditate. I sit down in a quiet room and stretch my body. Then I regulate my breathing as I take it through a series of breathing exercises. These help to ground and prepare me for my day. Finally, I perform one final meditation exercise to organize my mind for the day ahead. This is similar to hypnosis. Whereas the usual definition of meditation is to empty one's mind, I use this one to vent the mind. Venting basically means getting rid of extraneous information, while also organizing the information I do need for the day ahead.

This article explores how I meditate and how it can help you focus and prepare yourself for your day. Think of it as another tool you can use to help organize yourself and get ready for your day.

If you're not writing in it, it's just taking up space

now that's a lot of plannersRaymond Gilford (aka Shuttercat7) is a long-time OCBoP (Obsessive Compulsive Buyer of Planners) and a sometimes WiP (Writes in Planner). He hopes that in writing this article there is someone else out there who can't go in a store without stopping by the calendar/planner section.


Welcome to the true life confessions of a Texan who spends a lot of time saddlin' up. Our first encounter with the need for organizational tools begins when we're kids. It starts out roughly the same for all of us. They call our name. We answer. They hand us money. They start telling us what they want. We nod our heads dutifully. Then we head out the door. Somehow, when we get to the store, what we heard doesn't translate well into what items we're now dropping into the shopping cart. Then we get back home we find ourselves in trouble because we forgot something, or several somethings. Next time, our parents send us to the store, with a list.

Mood Diary - pocket mod and Cognitive Restructuring problem solving worksheet

This is the Daily Mood Journaling / Tracking Page by Matdredalia worked into a pocketmod format. I often leave my planner on my desk, but never my wallet. Since this isn't something I'd want anybody looking at, I prefer to keep it in my wallet. (I never fill out the personal information pages of the planners either. Oh, and the reason I'm so touchy about personal info -- I work in a jail).

Thanks for the original template Matdredalia, and for permission to pocketmod it!

I'm also adding another pocketmod which incorporates some of the Mood Diary. It also has a worksheet for a "Problem Solving Technique". This is based somewhat on David Burns books and the cognitive restructuring schools of thought. Cognitive theory holds that at least some of the time when we face a psychological problem, it is at least partially caused by our own distorted thought patterns. So, whenever you notice yourself having thoughts of suicide, feeling a need to cut, feeling the need to overeat, feeling the need to not eat or purge, or ...
a technique to handle it is to write down the emotion, what triggered it, and then rephrase your self talk to overcome the distorted thinking.

I find to do this, I really need to have this sheet with me all the time -- hence the pocketmod. I also like tracking the factors from the mood diary as well. The two blank rows at the bottom can be used for tracking other factors that may be relevant for you.

Lastly, one page of the mod is for keeping track of doctor's appointments.

Usage advice: 

See Matdredalia's original template info. for the Mood Diary pocket mod

Paper size: 
Other
License: 
Creative Commons
Applications required: 
Adobe Reader or other pdf printer
Language: 
English

Daily Mood Journaling / Tracking Page

This template is primarily aimed at those suffering from Bipolar disorder or depression. It is meant to keep track of not only your moods, but also the events and variables surrounding them so that you can target things that trigger your moods so that you may balance them.

I really, really hope this can help some folks out. If anyone has any suggestions or questions, please, let me know. I'd be happy to help in any way I can. Also, this is my first template, so go easy on the negative comments, please.

(Please note, the thumbnail does a terrible job of showing what it looks like!)

Thumbnail: 
bipolarthumbnail.jpg
Usage advice: 

You could probably come up with several systems to use with the template, but what I had in mind with it, was this:

During the day, mark a dot on on the "Mood Tracking" grid, showing where your mood was at during what part of the day. (Hint: There are 24 blocks going across!)

Also, keep track of how many hours of sleep you had the night before, what medications you took, what you ate, how long you exercised, and the weather.

At the end of the day, write a short blurb under daily blurb, describing how you felt throughout the day, or any event that stuck out in your mind. Also, note what your "overall" mood was during the day.

At the end of the week, or month, whichever you prefer, go through your mood logs and try to see if there are any patterns in diet, exercise (or lack-there-of), weather, sleeping habits, etc. that may be contributing to your depressed or manic bouts. See if you can find a common factor in the times you felt "normal" and try to repeat those things.

Paper size: 
Classic (5.5 x 8.5)
License: 
Creative Commons
Applications required: 
Adobe Acrobat or other PDF reader
Language: 
English

The Sky Is Falling...Maybe.

The Sky Is Falling
Henry here, once again filling in for my son Stephen. His friend moved into a place with a hot tub. We have not heard from him in some time, nor do we expect to for some time to come.

I have been managing my financial portfolio since I was a young man. A very, very young man. Back then my investment bank of choice was shaped like a pig. When I was about 4, I started to collect old coins. They were donated to me by people who had been holding them for years. Mostly they were old pennies which were in use before legal national tender was created. There were still a few of those kicking around. I had a piggy bank which gave of a very satisfactory rattle when I shook it. I felt as rich as King Midas. Then disaster struck.

I came home from school one day to learn that my sister had raided my investment pig and taken my coins to buy ice cream. I was shattered. A whole piece of my world had crashed down on my head. My sky had fallen in. Of course, in the end it wasn’t as bad as all that and I did eventually get my investment portfolio back on track, though I have never again felt quite so rich as I did back then. I learned two important lessons from this experience: One, problems with the bank are not usually as severe as the innitial shock would make them appear; and two, never trust a girl, especially if she's your sister.

Unschedule - Daily - Procrastination

You can use this as an ordinary Day Keeper, but it's meant to be an "Unschedule". Unscheduling a week per page isn't enough room for me. Includes check-boxes and room for notes.

Usage advice: 

To use this as an Unschedule:

* If you have an important project that you've been procrastinating, schedule in *everything but* that project first, including breaks, meals, and so on. This will give you a realistic idea of how much time you actually have available.

* Once you've done the above, you can use the available time to work.

* Record your work on the project. Total it up at the end of each day.

Tips:

* Concentrate on *starting*. The sooner you do that, the better you'll feel. The first fifteen minutes or so is always the hardest. Just push through it.

* Schedule lots of breaks.

* Don't schedule in any work blocks until you've actually done your first one.

* I recommend using this along with a "Habit Tracker," where you can record your consistent usage of the unschedule, and your daily amount of work. This helps give the kind of overview you get from a weekly unschedule. Also, it's very motivating.

* Read The Now Habit by Neil Fiore.

Paper size: 
Classic (5.5 x 8.5)
License: 
Creative Commons
Applications required: 
Acrobat Reader, or Foxit
Language: 
English