Tag: forms

DIY Dry Erase Household Chores Checklist

I’ve long been a fan of homemade DIY whiteboards. Any picture frame or mirror or other glass surface works great as a dry-erase surface. This morning, I put together a “chore” chart in Adobe Illustrator, printed it out, slapped it in a frame that had been collecting dust in the garage, wrapped a dry-erase pen in ribbon and tied it to the back of the frame, put some nails in the wall, and now feel motivated to conquer some household grime and clutter!

My chore chart has sections for daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, and yearly chores. (Don’t judge — I realize some people do what we count as “annual” chores every month or every week!) I put a block to write in a due date and checkboxes for marking off the chores. I also included things that aren’t really “chores” but that we want to make sure get done — for example, a weekly date night and monthly dates with our children. I’m not sure if we’ll really need the “every day” box yet, but I figure for now it will be helpful to know if Steve has already done something before I do it as well.

Download

I’ve included the Illustrator file (CS4) if you’d like to download it and modify it for your own use.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License.

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Freelancer’s Motivational Tool: Week Tracking Sheet v1

I have been suffering from the worst case of unmotivation that I’ve ever had in my life. I would really like to just read ALL DAY and not do anything else until Steve comes home. (Okay, maybe I’ll take a few sips of blackberry limeade every now and then.) My friends look at me oddly when I mention how lazy I’ve been feeling because they know me as the unstoppable super-productive person who types really fast, reads 50 books a week (slight exaggeration), works full-time, volunteers, and wrote a book on top of it all. Steve looks at me oddly when I suggest overextending our “fun” budget category to go eat out again because I don’t feel like cooking because I usually love to cook. I’m generally not feeling like myself.

I’m even too lazy to try to analyze why I’m unmotivated, which would probably be the first step to solving this particular problem.

Oh, my work is still getting done — and being done well, if I do say so myself. But let’s just say that the things I don’t have to do (including building out the HTML/CSS for my personal web site) aren’t getting done, and I’m wasting a lot of time gearing myself up to do the things I have to do.

“Do something for five minutes and the momentum will carry you through.” “Make it into a game.” “Set a timer.” “Use Dave Seah’s cool motivational forms to blast through projects.” The usual motivational tricks aren’t working for me. I really do think analyzing why I’m unmotivated should be the first step for real change. But since the thought of analyzing myself makes me tired, I’ve decided to try another form of motivational trickery on myself: Make a cool new form for myself. Better yet, make a form that addresses the main issue of why I need to be working — to earn money!

So — I give you my uncreatively named Week Tracking Sheet v1. Here is an example of it in use with made-up numbers (so you can’t know how poor — or rich — I am… bwa ha ha!):

Week Tracking Sheet example

As a freelance worker, the money I make is split across multiple projects and tracked across multiple Excel spreadsheets. This printable form allows me to consolidate the financial information; after I complete a task, I log how much money I just “made” into a column. At the end of the day, I total it up. At the end of the week, I can look at a grand total to see how I’m doing.

I tried to think of other uses for this form but couldn’t think of any. It would have to be something that you do and could log intermittently throughout the day, I think, with a hard numerical value (time, money, pages?) that you can add up at the end. Maybe for time spent studying? If you have any other creative ideas for how to use this, please share!

And if you’re curious — this did motivate me a little bit more yesterday when I used it. I’ll try to remember to share how I’m doing in the area of motivation during my week update(s).

Download

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License.

How to use it with a Junior Rolla/Circa notebook

Week Tracking Sheet printout

Print out on 8.5×11″ paper. Trim off right side .25″. Cut in half (at 5.5″ mark). Punch the top part of the form.

GTD Project List Form v2

I [finally!] revised my Project List Form by swapping the positions of the checkbox and code box. This makes it easier to scan the project titles (which I write starting from the left side in English) and easily see which projects have been completed.

GTD Project List Form v2

Download

  • Project List Form v2project-list-v2.pdf
    The PDF is editable in Illustrator, if you’re the kind of person that likes to customize things.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License.

See my original post for usage notes. I’m leaving the original download up for people who liked the checkboxes on the right.

GTD Project Detail Form v1

This comes after my GTD Project List Form v1 post. Take a look if you need some background on the concept of Projects within Getting Things Done and want to see the “parent” or “companion” form that goes along with this one.

Concept

I mentioned before that I had also created a Getting Things Done-inspired Project Detail Form, and here it is:

Project Detail Form v1

This fold-out page is formatted to print on 8.5″ x 11″ paper. I Circa-punch the left side and trim the bottom quarter inch off so it lines up with the other pages in my Circa/Rolla organizer. The aqua line isn’t printed — I’ve added it to the screenshot so you can see where I fold the page back.

The left side holds basic project information. In the diagram below…

Project Detail Form - left side detail sample

  • Big area for the project name.
  • A small area for the project code, which matches up with the project code I assign on the Project List form.
  • A big box to write the desired outcome and wildest dream, to help you focus on what you want this project to accomplish.
  • There are then several lines for brainstorming action items.

The right fold-out panel is a basic grid layout (1/4″ grid markings), perfect for notes, brainstorming, etc. I’ve already found this helpful for jotting down phone numbers and car service quotes for my “replace clutch” project. It’s also a nice place to write things down and brainstorm when I’m on-the-go and only have my planner with me.

Project Detail Form - right side detail sample

So how does this fit in with GTD? David Allen doesn’t talk about a “project detail sheet” in the book, but he does talk about “project support materials” that should be filed away for easy reference (either digitally, in an email folder or document folder, or physically, in a file folder or other storage unit) that are pulled out when you are working on the project. I think of this project detail sheet as a mini portable project file that I can always have with me in my planner to jot down notes, list the next few actions I think I need to take, and refer to quickly and easily. It’s not for everyone, but I think it will work for me.

I’ve deliberately stressed the brainstorming aspect of this page. As a list-maker type of person, I often get caught up into trying, first of all, to have a “complete” list, and second of all, to completely check off everything on the list. However, for some projects it’s not practical or feasible to create a complete list. This page gives me the freedom to make an incomplete list — to just look a few steps ahead, dream, brainstorm, even — gasp — write the action items out of order. I can quickly grab the Next Action and put it into my “real” to-do list (using Remember the Milk for now), without being afraid that I’ll forget an important step down the road because I already have it captured on this page.

Finally — I’m planning a follow-up post that demonstrates my current workflow using these different forms, and will have more concrete examples on how I use this specific project detail form in that post. Update: Here it is.

Download

  • Project Detail Form v1project-detail.pdf
    The PDF is editable in Illustrator, if you’re the kind of person that likes to customize things.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License.

Usage notes

  • Print landscape on 8.5″ x 11″ paper.
  • Can punch the left side. (This was specifically formatted for a Circa/Rolla notebook but may work for other formats.)
  • Trim the bottom 1/4″ off if you want it to match the Circa/Rolla Junior size paper.
  • Fold the grid back so that it doesn’t overlap the hole punches.
  • I file mine in order by project number so that I can quickly reference them from the Project List sheet.

Feedback

If you have any feedback about my GTD forms, I’d love to hear it! Please leave a comment below.

GTD Project List Form v1

In my previous post about Getting Things Done, I mentioned that I had created forms for keeping track of my projects. As promised, here is my first post about one of my forms — a Project List Form.

Project Concept

A little bit of GTD theory: David Allen defines anything that will take more than one or two steps as a “project.” So a Project could be an actual work project (“Health Spa Web Site”) or a personal project (“Make a quilt”), but it could also be something like “Get clutch fixed on car” because you have to 1) call your friend for a mechanic reference, 2) call the mechanic, and 3) bring the car in.

Allen advises that you have some sort of project master list that you review weekly, to remind you of all the unresolved stuff that you have going on.

Each project might also have support material, which would be the various reference items (such as the mechanic’s business card, or quilt pattern ideas) that you would need to use when working on the project. These materials should be filed away neatly somewhere so that you can pull them out as you are able to work on them.

The Project List Form v1

I designed a very basic project list form, perfect for my Circa/Rolla organizer.

Getting Things Done Project List form

  • Three color choices for the header: The headers are color coded similar to my Compact Project Task Cards. I use yellow for personal projects, blue for PixelMill projects, and pink for freelance projects.
  • 20 lines for listing projects.
  • Each line has a box on the left to allow you to notate a project code. The project code can be referenced on the project detail sheet (another blog on this later), your personal files, or on the Compact Project Task Card.
  • A juicy fat checkbox on the right. (I may revise this to be on the left — I think it’s more natural to scan down the list for incomplete projects if the checkbox is closer to the actual project title.)

Download

  • Project List Form v1project-list.pdf
    The PDF is editable in Illustrator, if you’re the kind of person that likes to customize things.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License.

Usage example and notes

GTD Project List sample use

  • Each color is on its own page, so there are three pages. You can print out only one page if you want a single color. You can print your own double-sided sheets, but the forms are not designed to line up when double-sided.
  • I’ve been using numbers for project detail sheet codes and letters for mini-projects that fit on one of my Compact Project Task Cards.

Okay — so now I owe another blog post about my project detail form. Stay tuned!

Update 6/15: Go to the next part: GTD Project Detail Form v1 is up!

Compact Project Task Cards v1

Compact project task cards

New addition to My Organizer: Compact Project Task Cards. (Download available!)

For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been keeping track of my various “projects I’m working on” in the extra margin space of my weekly planner sheets (in the photo above, it’s the space between the day-boxes and the binder rings, under the cards). However, I found myself copying over unfinished projects from week to week. This got annoying.

I thought about Getting Things Done and began to see the wisdom of having a master “project list,” which was essentially what my week-to-week list was. So, I tried using a paper “bookmark” (about the width of the margin) as a project list-keeper. That worked okay, but I found myself having to look up other pieces of paper, emails, and online to-do lists related to each project.

This is about when I started scheming a cooler way to keep track of my projects AND some of the critical to-do’s for each project. Read on to learn about my process and to download/print the form!
Continue reading “Compact Project Task Cards v1”

Cheering groundhog forms added

Cheering groundhog form

Doodah suggested that I incorporate the cheering groundhog into the monthly goal tracking forms, and thanks to Illustrator’s Live Trace function (using “Comic” setting), it didn’t take very long (I just had to adjust the paths for the letters and words). You can download the updated PDF or Word document versions on the Monthly Goal Tracker page. The original un-cutsey version is still up there as well.

Creating a calendar layout in Illustrator CS2

I decided to take some time this morning to make a monthly calendar spread for my new organizer in Illustrator. Similar to my weekly pages, I wasn’t going to put actual dates on the pages, but wanted to have a base layout that I could then fill in. So, basically, I wanted to make a bunch of squares on a page. Sounds simple! Here are the original specs that I had in mind for my calendar layout:

  • 8.5″ x 11″ sheet with two calendar layouts; I would cut the page in half, trim the edges (to match the other sheets in my organizer) and then hole-punch it
  • Rounded corner squares, 7 across, 5 down, to represent the weekdays of the month; no numbers — I would write them in by hand after printing them
  • A rounded corner bar at the top for the month

I recently had seen Veerle’s blog about using the Transform and Distort effect to make dynamic business cards in Illustrator, which was new to me. I was excited about trying out the technique for the calendar layout, because I could see how it would make it much easier to evenly space the squares for the calendar.

Here are the step-by-steps of what I did…

Continue reading “Creating a calendar layout in Illustrator CS2”

My new organizer

My history of organizer systems in bulleted list format:

  • Early college years: Cheap DayRunner vinyl organizer with calendar refill and address book
  • Later college years: Leather DayTimer organizer that weighed about 50 lbs. with binder-ring style calendar, addresses, notepaper, etc., slots for ID and credit cards, zipper pocket, notepad, blah blah blah…
  • Briefly: Hand-me-down Palm Pilot from my sister. Spent hours entering stuff into it, then stopped using it because the batteries got used up so quickly.
  • Full-time employment years: Yellow legal notepad with tiny printed to-do items listed one after another, crossed off as completed
  • Initial self-employed years: Cheap iPads.com calendar notebook with preprinted monthly sheets, weekly spreads, and pages in between each month for tracking expenses (I used it for tracking invoices), notes, etc. Spiral-bound and custom photo and title/text printed on the cover. Low-tech and awesome.
  • October 2006 – March 2007: Moleskine-hacked calendar/organizer. iPads.com stopped printing calendars. After dragging myself out of the depths of despair, I designed my own (more details/pictures below).
  • Now: Rollabind/Circa system organizer with personally-designed/printed pages. I’m loving it!

I think the Moleskine and Rollabind stuff will be most interesting to readers, so here are some pictures and descriptions:

Continue reading “My new organizer”