Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Desperate straits call for desperate measures...

or at the very least somewhat clumsy but practical innovation.

I used to use my lovely wee Palm PDA a lot. Then last year, when I was convalescing after major surgery, I didn't have the need to refer to it or use it often for about 4 months so got out of the habit of putting in info and reading it when required. It became an untrustworthy device for recording my never-ending piles of tasks.

I have effectively been list-less for some months now (no pun intended there) and it has been obvious how detrimental its been to my productivity and the smoothness of getting things done in a timely way. If its not written down, in a place with a context, it generally gets missed, forgotten or abandoned due to the former two.

I had some time to myself in between appointments today and went diary shopping for a suitable "old-fashioned" paper based "device" that might fill the giant gap my PDA has left.

I still use the PDA but the on/off button is faulty and hard to turn on so its become a PITA to use effectively. It's still essential for carting around vast numbers of addresses and memo's though. I will probably always use some kind of electronic device for that stuff even if I never use one again for tasks or appointments.

I'm actually sweating on the iPhone coming to Australia but there's no word yet as to which telco here is picking it up for sure. I may yet succumb and go for another brand phone/PDA/mp3/browser device. Don't know yet.

So anyway... I didn't find the diary I wanted. I have already got a wee paper diary with a week to an opening which is fine for ordinary appointments but its just not appropriate for task lists at all. I NEED a discrete task list; one based on contextual concepts such as Home, Work, Calls, Computer and so on.

Instead I switched to looking for a small notebook with a pen holder. I found a good one with a snap-lock cover for under AU$3.00 in Trevs Bargain Emporium *grin* I'm actually tempted to go back and purchase the rest and put them into storage for the day when this current one is just totally unusable. With white-out though it "should" technically last a good while or at least until I replace it with a new electronic do-all device anyway.

I brought the notepad home and made labels with my nifty little Brother P-touch 55 labeller (an absolutely ESSENTIAL household device), and printed out two of each label sticker. These I attached to pages in the notebook back to back. The notebook is roughly divided now, into different contextual sections into which I can record any relevant tasks.

So for instance, in my "Errands/Buy" category - when I'm out and about, I can simply refer to that particular list to see if I need to get meds from the pharmacy, or go look for a new pair of shoes for work etc.

It's about coherent relevance to my day to day activities. Instead of trying to remember what I have to do exactly WHEN I have to do it, this device now allows me to shift and change as required according to any given place/time/person.

It took me about half an hour to set it up and another half hour or so to put everything I can so far think of into it. The real test though is in the following couple of weeks. If by the end of that I have lots and lots of white-out lines in it, it will be a go-er! :)


EM said...

So you really use white-out? That's so industrious! (Not to mention ecologically sound.) I just cross stuff off. It makes me feel productive, but I go through a lot more paper...

Michelle said...


Not sure if its industrious as such as its just that tape you roll over the writing...really really simple to do I thought.

As for ecologically sound? Hmmm! That could be questionable given what chemicals may constitute the white out! ;) But I AM saving my notebook from being half written in and discarded when it could be used a few more times over.

I'm hoping so anyway.

And I "only" white out stuff when I get near a white tape roller to do so! hahaha I don't actually carry one of those things around with me on a permanent basis you know! *wink*