Never underestimate the stress-reducing power of a tickler. If you don't need to think about doing a particular task now, you don't need to see it now. You also don't need to worry about remembering to do it in a few weeks time. (The stress that results from worrying about forgetting is greater than most believe.) If you have a digital system, put it in your calendar or a future task. If you have a paper system, put it in a tickler folder (a la GTD) or mark it in your planner in a future action list or calendar day. Have confidence that your trusted system will remember it for you.
Today's Quick Tip features a two-for-one suggestion from Doug and innowen.
Are you a computer pack-rat, with a tonne of files cluttering your computer's desktop? Afraid to delete them because you might need them later?
Doug recommends: On the first of every month, move the files you need into the correct directories. Anything that's left, put them into a directory named "Driftwood March 2009" (or somesuch). Create a new one every month. Delete them once they're a year old, since you'll likely never need their contents again.
innowen recommends: Create an "inbox" on your desktop and put files that you download/accumulate from the internet here. Then, once a week (or follow Doug's advice above) go through all the files and sort them into permanent homes or trash them.
Carry a day planner but find that "inbox" pages typically only get a few lines of notes before you transfer them into another place, thereby wasting most of your paper and space? Carry a dozen index cards packed into your front cover or a slash pocket. Or, if you have a notebook with stiff covers, purchase a set of adhesive "business card pockets" and attach one inside a cover: they're the perfect size for holding 6-8 index cards. They can be used anywhere you'd like to keep a small stack handy --try attaching one to a large fridge magnet, and you can keep one handy for grocery lists, notes to your spouse, and so on.
Hand getting cramped when you write more than a few paragraphs? Loosen up! Many people middle-age or younger are used to having to grasp pens and pencils very tightly to make lines. After a page or two of writing like this, the hand and wrist may begin to hurt. However, with gel and fountain pens such a tight grasp is rarely necessary. Train yourself to write looser by consciously slackening your grip, especially when you notice pain or cramps starting. It's not an easy habit to break, but it can be done. Soon writing can be a pleasure.
Tired of guillotining or roll-cutting letter-size paper to make classic-size forms for your D*I*Y Planner? Go to your local big-box office supply store or printer, buy a 500-page pack of paper, and they'll slice it in half for you for a few dollars. Some places, especially those also specializing in printing, might also be able to punch the holes too.
Going into a meeting with a lot of people, and you just know that the topics will jump around quite a bit? Bring in a small stack of index cards, and create one per note-taking topic. When a previously-discussed topic comes up again, simply shuffle back and keep adding to the appropriate card. By the end of the meeting, all your notes will be topic-specific and as coherent as possible.
There's plenty of little things we think of here that aren't meaty enough for a full article, but that might help the odd reader and perhaps instigate a little discussion. To that end, we'd like to introduce a new feature here on DIYPlanner: Quick Tips. These will be posted several times a week, and will run the gamut from pens and notebooks to creative techniques to digital productivity. (Hey, we analog luddites do occasionally use computers, too, or else you wouldn't be reading these words.) So, our first official Quick Tip:
Like the freedom of writing on an unlined page, but your words start tipping to an angle the further down the page you write? Take a tip from old-style blank writing pads. These generally come with a lined page you could slip under your current page, and there would be just enough hint of lines to keep your writing even and on track. If you don’t have such a lined page for your paper or journal, use Ygor’s dynamic templates to generate lined note pages with the line spacing and thickness that works best for you.
Do you have a quick tip? Email it to diyplanner -@AT@- gmail dot com!