Are you all familiar with the Getting Things Done® (GTD) productivity plan? It’s a registered trademark so I put the thingie there. What’s it all about, Peppermint? Well … it’s about getting things done, folks. There’s a book (here) and seminars (here) and a whole store full of products (here) that tell the entire tale – but the jist of it is that we all have stuff to do, and this is a method for organizing your things to more productively get them done. You’ve probably heard of it, maybe even read the book. There are a lot of GTDers out there.
See? Liz has the book. Although whether or not she’s even read it, or implemented it, is a different story altogether.
Note that it’s a METHOD for getting things done, but the “doing of stuff” is all on you. Since the “doing” part is where things tend to fall apart for me, I affectionately refer to it as GND, or “Getting Nothing Done” (no trademark).
A week or two ago, Christine told me that she was going to read the book because she’d seen a blog post on using Evernote as the backbone of your GTD system. (As an aside, it’s not just for Asians – it’s just that I attract a lot of Asian friends – true story.) I decided to give GTD another go because she was so excited about her new Evernote system – and I already used Evernote for other things. Plus most of my things are digital things and my current system has been to haphazardly strew things across the desktop of my computer, let emails pile up in my inbox with no note as to what needs to be done with them, and then my ever faithful “Post-It Note On The Monitor” method that has served me well for so many years. Evernote has a lot of plug-ins across a lot of programs, so by adding “add to Evernote” buttons to my browser, my Google Reader, my email program and an app on my Droid – I can pile things into Evernote like crazy.
I, personally, set up my Evernote system using the One Notebook strategy (via 40Tech) because I already have several Evernote notebooks and didn’t want to clutter up the whole works. I’m not sure which one Christine used – her exact answer was “Mostly the one from that health-something website” .. she’s helpful like that. “You know, the website … with the text. It has colors on it and some writing. That one.”
So now I have a way to move most of my things to one central location where I can sort my things and prioritize my things, but actually doing my things is something I have to continue to work on. I’m very good at avoiding things in order to do cooler, funner things. Which spurred this conversation between Christine and I online this afternoon:
Peppermint: my evernote system isn’t making me any more productive, but it is keeping me organized for now. I still avoid the stuff, but at least it’s cohesively there if I decide to do it.
Christine: That’s exactly how I feel about it. It’s not magically going to make me WANT to do some of the stuff. Especially after I read that article about procrastination that I sent you yesterday.
Peppermint: Yea, I’m still GND. But I can GTD if I want. I haven’t even read that article yet.
Christine: It totally made sense to me.
Peppermint: I’m procrastinating on reading the procrastination article. It’s in my GND file. I’ll have to call my system “GAFTD” – Get A Few Things Done. But I like GND better because it’s more accurate, really.
Christine: Mine is “WTOIGND” – Wasting Time On the Internet Get Nothing Done.
Peppermint: Maybe “FTIESODIMGTDIIHNETD” – File Things In Evernote So One Day I Might Get Things Done If I Have Nothing Else To Do
Christine Newman: Or “SOAEC” – Sit On Ass Eating Chocolate
Peppermint: I should post this on my blog. I’m going to clip it to Evernote so one day I might do that.
And that’s just what I did, Internet! So I can officially remove one thing from my GND file. Go me!
On a related note, I was talking to Liz about GND and she said that I’m a “workarexic” – a delusional workaholic who never thinks she works enough (like an anorexic,except applied to work). So there you go! An official diagnosis AND a new word to throw around at cocktail parties (should I ever actually be at a cocktail party).
Have a great weekend everyone! Get things done! You know … if you feel like it.
Or don’t. It’s all up to you!
Yup, that’s right. It’s time for an installment of Stuff That Doesn’t Suck. Or “STDS” … which … yea, I didn’t think this all the way through. Let’s not make it into an acronym. Let’s just spell the whole thing out.
The Paperclipping Digi Show
About two weeks ago I received an email from Izzy Hyman, producer of The Paperclipping Digi Show (at Paperclipping.com) asking if I’d be interested in being a guest on an upcoming show. The email hit my inbox right as I was walking out the door to head to the office and I’m not going to lie to you, my three faithful readers – I started hyperventilating within seconds. As someone who had attempted to talk Liz Tamanaha down off a ledge in the hours preceding her recent appearance on PDS, I was not prepared for the tables to be turned. “I still have so much life to live,” I reasoned. Plus my health insurance is reeeeally sketchy, I’m not sure that it would even cover a public speaking induced cardiac event.
I panicked all the way to work, sat at my desk and panicked, instant messaged a couple of friends (phone a friend! I want to phone a friend!) to ask for their most believable excuses for getting out of doing something – but in the end I realized what a gigantic baby I was being. My (much smaller and quieter) rational side finally got a word in edgewise and I told myself, as I have many times in the past, that I can’t go through life passing up new opportunities simply because I break out in hives at the thought of speaking publicly. Even my son would be like, “Stop being such a baby, you great big baby. Why don’t you pull up your great big baby pants and just do it?”
So yesterday I plugged in my headset (freshly chewed by Sisko and hastily repaired by me with the help of of YouTube – explanation is at the end of the podcast) and pretended like I was just on a regular old phone call. Just a phone call with three people I’ve never met before who were going to ask me questions that I imagined I should have some sort of answer to … JUST A REGULAR PHONE CALL.
You can listen to me in all my “ummmmm” and “uhhhhhhh” glory in PDS022 – You Say Opacity, I’ll Say Opacity. And if you listen to that, this next little bit of Stuff That Doesn’t Suck will be a redundant, but I never let that stop me.
Writing Motherhood by Lisa Garrigues
I mention this book, Writing Motherhood (note: that’s an affiliate link) at the end of PDS022. I was searching Amazon.com the other evening for books on journal and memoir writing because I find them to be really useful for scrapbooking. They’re typically intended more for actual book writers, but with the growing popularity of art journaling (and just journaling in general) there are a lot of options available that are specifically catered to writing for hobby/craft purposes. What typically happens is I find one book that looks interesting, add it to my wishlist, then I follow the “people who bought this book ALSO bought…” links and then it’s straight down the rabbit hole from there. Hours later my wishlist is bursting at the seams and I have 40 tabs open in Firefox.
I read the preview pages on the Amazon listing for this book and was instantly intrigued by the author’s writing style, her laid-back approach towards exploring and chronicling the intricacies of motherhood, and the summary where she lays out the strategies you’ll implement throughout the book. I won’t bore you with my endless driveling because the concept is pretty straight forward – become a better writer by writing. Garrigues gives you the “you can do it!” speech that you may need in order to set aside some time each day to write about the journey of motherhood. The highs, the lows, the unprompted hugs and the days where it feels like everything you own is covered in vomit. You know, the beautiful symphony that is “motherhood”.
The first couple of chapters lay out her tips for setting yourself up to succeed and not letting yourself fall prey to all the excuses. Basically you buy a journal, a few pens that make you happy (Sharpie retractable black pens, for me!) and you set aside some time on most days to write two pages – or for 15 minutes. Each chapter provides “invitations” to write – not homework assignments – in the form of phrases, single words, monumental events or even seemingly unrelated objects in everyday life. The idea being that the more you write, the less daunting the task will become. And her rationale behind physically putting pen to paper in this technological world is worth a read all on its own. I was smitten with the poetic way she explained that the hand has a direct connection to the heart and will forever look at handwriting my thoughts in a journal in a totally new light.
The best part is, many of those 2-page writing sessions may translate into scrapbook pages for you. I’ve been in a bit of an inspirational rut when it comes to scrapbooking, mostly due to time constraints, but also because I feel as though I’m at the point (and my son is at the age) where I have so much I want to share with my son about who I am and what it means to be his mother – but could use a little help when it comes to navigating the way. Even if you decide to keep your Mother’s Journals to yourself, though, you’ll find that when you sit down and actually put the words to a page you become more in tune with who you are, where you’ve been and where you’re headed – and more aware of and appreciative for the subtleties of everyday life.
The Todd Shot
And just so I don’t leave things on a heavy note – the boy gave me an impressive Todd Shot tonight before digging into a bowl of popcorn. Todd (of The Todd Shot) is a certified popcorn addict – so this is a double homage to the man who allowed him to play Angry Birds on his iPad until the battery ran dead.
(poor quality low-light shot courtesy of my Droid X)
(and yes, I know his glasses need to be adjusted, it’s on the list of things to do tomorrow)
New today – a simple, one-click way to add realistic drop shadows to your layouts. Shadow Like Me is a set of Layer Styles (.asl files) that work in both Photoshop and Photoshop Elements. After you add your drop shadow you can continue to customize it by adjusting the opacity, distance and size to suit your individual layout needs but they’ll start the process off for you, saving you a lot of “fiddling time” on your layouts. Work smarter not harder!
And Photoshop users can add further realism to their shadows by following the steps in my Mind-Blowing Drop Shadow Tutorial here on the site.
The product contains two .asl files, one with a 45-degree light source (shown in the preview) and another with a 120-degree light source. I personally shadow with a light source from the top right (45 degrees) but I know that 120 is “standard” and it’s the default in Photoshop, so I didn’t want to force anyone to change their ways. There is also a text file containing basic installation instructions for Photoshop and Photoshop Elements.
The image links to the Personal Use version of Shadow Like Me. For the Commercial Use version of Shadow Like Me, click here.
I really hope that these save you a lot of time and headaches on your layouts. There’s no true one-click answer to drop shadows because so much is dependent on the colors of your page, the position of your elements and your own personal taste – but these should send you off in a good direction.
I have no training in writing, the fact that people find anything I write the least bit interesting is always amazing to me. I’m not a writer, but I love to tell stories. They’re my go-to secret weapon in a social situation. Other people may have the ability to talk about politics, world events or pop culture – but me? I tell stories. I don’t hold anything back, either. I am all in when I tell a story. You know what? I almost need to be standing the entire time because I also talk with my hands and, depending on the story, there may be demonstrations and/or impersonations. Occasionally props.
When it comes down to it I like to connect with people at a very personal level. I won’t lie, some people are VERY uncomfortable with that. I recognize this and own it, I am not for everyone. It’s not so much that I don’t have a filter to keep my personal anecdotes from tumbling out of my mouth, it’s more that I see no reason to keep them in. There are very few questions that I won’t answer if asked directly. I may not answer them in front of a large crowd or anything, but I’m a really open person and figure there’s not much to lose. If something I say is going to chase you away, it’s better that we find out now, right? Not five years down the road when we’re sitting around my kitchen island (in this scenario I like to imagine that I have a kitchen large enough for an island) having a nice chat and all of a sudden THE THING is said and THE TOTAL-HORRIFICATION-ITUDE happens and where does that leave us?
Be yourself, because everyone else is already taken. – Oscar Wilde
My seemingly neverending desire to blather on and on (and on) lends itself well to this hobby, though, which is just one of the many reasons why I don’t mind the fact that I’m a hot mess of a chatterbox. But I routinely run across people who say things like “I feel like everything I write sounds stupid” or “I’m just not witty” or “They’re all going to laugh at me”. The thing is, we’re talking about your family/friends/pets here. They already know most of your dirty little secrets. (And frankly? In the case of your pets, they can’t read and they’re going to feel the same about you regardless.)
If you have a weird sense of humor in real life, that sort of thing is not going to shock them on a scrapbook page. If anything, it’s going to make them love it even more. If you’re a bad speller or have horrible grammar, you’re not fooling anyone. Now is not the time to re-write history – your family KNOWS. Chances are, they’ve even told other people. And they still return home every night after school, after work, they sit down and eat dinner with you, they kiss and hug you goodnight.
It doesn’t really matter how you say it, it only matters that it’s said. You have the opportunity on every page to place a little bit of yourself on there like any other element. A scrap of paper here, a button there, a scatter of flowers, and then right over here … all my love. The little things I noticed that maybe I didn’t tell you at the time. The joy/pain/excitement/sadness that was on my mind, but maybe I didn’t quite feel ready to share. The way this moment reminded me of the past, made me more aware of the present or made me look forward to the future. Maybe all three.
In my creative process, I call these portions of the page my “Little Love Letters”. I even wrote a Little Love Letter ABOUT my Little Love Letters a few days ago.
CREDITS: Correspondence by Paislee Press & Leora Sanford (available HERE)
LITTLE LOVE LETTER: People ask me what my favorite part of scrapbooking is and it’s this. Writing on your pages – each one a little love letter from me to you. I don’t always know exactly what to say in the moment, and I’ll admit I’m not the best at getting my point across on the first try – or even the second or third. And at your age you don’t have the attention span or the patience to sit around waiting for me to get to my destination. A lot of times you don’t want to hear the mushy stuff, and I completely understand because I have a hard time accepting compliments, too. So this is where I can pour out my heart to you, page after page. If ever you doubt how amazing I think you are, let these pages serve as a testament to my undying, unwavering adoration of you. Love Always, Mom.
I’ve shared in previous posts that I was a reluctant storyteller. I had a list of excuses why I didn’t feel comfortable doing it, most of them revolving around my own self-consciousness and I had to come to terms with that. But then I asked myself, “Self? Are you NOT the same woman who will make an absolute fool of herself in front of a crowd of people JUST to make someone that you love laugh?” That’s me! I routinely (much to my family’s dismay) get myself into all sorts of ridiculous situations where I risk bodily harm and what remains of my dignity for no better reason than to make my son laugh. So I made the effort, little by little, word by word, page by page. And when I turn the corner into our living room and see my son sprawled out on the floor with his albums, reading page after page of Little Love Letters that I’ve written to him I know with absolute certainty that I was right when I chose to not let the self-consciousness win.