Tuesday, September 25, 2012

GTD and Thought Capturing

So over the years my organization skills have been both good and bad. Lately in an attempt to get reorganized I have been looking into setting myself up a GTD (Getting Things Done) system mixed with Old school Journal/Note Taking system.

The reason for this is because I'm very forgetful, I need reminders and ways to remember things without storing it in my brain. My wife can verify that I'm horrible at remembering important things and dates but I can remember odd science references from PBS Nova Shows I watched as a kid that have no relevance in my work or personal life today.

After getting my current job I really wanted to get a handle on tracking day to day things at work and at home and make sure I stopped procrastinating (I'm better but have a ways to go). Additionally I wanted to keep track of all my random mental thoughts, projects and important information I know I need to be better at remembering. So after reading a few articles on line I grabbed a few Moleskine notebooks (I love these things), a writing utensil and installed Evernote with Wunderlist then set to organizing things.

Here is my set up so far:
Online (Synced between Computers, Tablet, & Phones):
Evernote: for organization of blogs post, things I want to read later, clipping web articles/sites and an online archiving repository thanks to setting up recipes in ifTTT to auto copy my blog and twitter posts.

Wunderlist: For Online Task List Organization (work in progress see To-Do book below). I really like this app but I have not really gotten use to using it over my pocket notebook. I'm trying to use it more but time will tell if I stick with it.

Offline (a.k.a Old school notebooks. Pic below.):
To-Do/Quick Notes: Reporter Style Moleskine. This is a great little notebook because it's only slightly bigger than my phone and fits in my back pocket for when I do not have my backpack with me. I try to always have this with me if I ever need to write something down. I try to use this mainly as my To-Do list but will take notes with it. Case in point few weeks I met with a house inspector and as this is all I had on me I wrote down all the things he pointed out beyond what he wrote in the inspection report as we walked through the house. Also I always have a pen strapped to this notebook as well.

Work Notes: Large hardcover Moleskine with Grid line layout. I really like the Grid lines for keeping my handwriting in check and being able to draw out flow charts and processes of applications I support. Nothing from here goes into Evernote or online outside of the internal work intranet for security purposes.Note though that side work project items for planning out my own business do not go in here either they go in the next listed notebook.

Journal:  Large softcover Moleskine with line layout. This is my personal notes/thoughts repository. Everything not related to my full time work goes here and eventually ends up in Evernote. I mainly use it for larger things that would end up taking up more than a few lines in my To-Do/Quick Notes notebook. I think I will be switching to a hard cover grid layout when I fill up this one (see work notes for why).

Calender: 18 Month Weekly notebook planner (Small). I'm always forgetting important dates (Except my anniversary and wife's birthday!) and since it is small it takes up no room in my backpack to have handy to got something down or look something up. Both work and personal items go in here.

Some people at work asked my why I don't go all online with this system. I can see their point sense I have a PC, laptop, work laptop, two smart phones and a tablet I'm practically always connected and have the web accessible 24/7.

The reason I keep notebooks is I prefer to write out things over trying to use my fat fingers on my mobile phone. I do not always have my other devices with me either. I love Evernote but more times than not it becomes this black hole of things I have forgotten about and when I physically write something down I tend to remember it better. Also I don't want to be tied down to always having to be connected to the internet or constantly syncing things between devices. If my phone dies I want to be able to keep going with out having to worry about recharging it to mark something off, update a note or jot some thought down I want to remember.

Like others I "prep" my moleskines similar to what is found here: Hacking a GTD Moleskine. Look for the 1 through 3 numbers of the "Preparing the Moleskine" Section. I have found the use of a first page index invaluable for finding things I wrote down previously. I also use little post-it color tabs but not as described in the link above to help with tagging important items in my to-do list.

I know my system doesn't match up to what GTD gurus say you should do but right now it works for me. I think that is the underlining thing to take away. I'm sure that as I get use to using this system I will change it here and there and possibly consolidate things to have one book for work and one for all my personal items.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Need to get some pictures together!!

I need to sort through some of my best shots so far and get one of these made: http://moleskine.milkbooks.com/

They look awesome!

Goodbye Buck (R.I.P. 9-23-2012)

You where the best Grandfather for a boy who needed one.

Thank you for every moment you where apart of my life to help guide me into the man I am today.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

You have to love a zealous fan base.

Watching tumblr explode for the lack of Sherlock Emmys was the most fun I have had in a long time.... 

Man I need to get out more... LOL

Fall Cleaning...

OK, I will admit it... I'm not really cleaning all that much. Just getting around to making my desk a lot less cluttered and putting away books and paper work that have been piling up.

I've also sorted through some electronic items that I no longer use and now need to figure out what to so with. Anyone need a Japanese/English electronic dictionary by Casio bought in 2005? Just needs new batteries. I have a 32GB Zune player I no longer use that I just reset so nothing is on it as well. I'm not an eBay user so maybe I can sell it to someone at work...


After putting things away I left tackling the sorting and throwing out of years old flies until Jan 2013 or earlier if we find a house. I will probably do it as we are packing up to move then.

Last thing to do is get rid of all my extra pens and other writing items that are just taking up space that I am not using and do round 5 through all my boxes of books!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Always connected

Just had Lotus notes & Sametime apps added to my work iPhone.

I can never jet away now.


(it is not that bad though... It rare we get emergencies that can't wait until morning.)

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

I swear I will pack all my camera gear and have it with me always!

That's me on the left with my online gaming friends of 12+ years. Except for the bride and groom (center two people) this is the first time I have met them in person!

I brought my camera with me to my friend's wedding this past weekend because I only planed on taking a few pictures of the ceremony and those of my friends (see above). So I wasn't thiking of bringing my flash or extra filters (see here for my camera). However as we waited for the reception it was pointed out that the photogrpher for the wedding was not going to be there for the reception. So I was asked to take extra pictures (not by the wedding couple by another close friend guest).

It started out OK as I'm still getting use to the camera and taking better pictures in general. The room was really well lit for the dinner and cake cutting but once that was done they turned down the lights for dancing I wished right away I had my external flash with me. I only had the pop-up flash and after looking at a few pictures to check them out to see how the flash made things looked I was horrified!
That pop up flash really was bad when I needed a little more light and not wash out everyone in a blinding supernova that came from the front of my camera.

All in all the pictures still turned out decently and the happy couple will have memories of reception events that other people where not taking.

Grats Mari and Chris hope your honeymoon is going smooth and you are actually relaxing and NOT trying to check up on work!!!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Hello iPhone 4S, I'm Jason

Today I received my iPhone 4S through work as my business phone.

After carrying around my Galaxy SII for a year the smaller size is actually nice. I don't even mind that the screen is smaller. I don't do a lot of multimedia watching on my phone and since this is my work phone I will not be pushing my luck in running up the data usage even though it is unlimited. I mostly use email, text the wife, look things up when out shopping, or snap pictures with my personal phone and I don't see much changing with my work iPhone.  The size seems to fit better in my pocket too as I carry a number of things in mine and the SII never seems to sit right.

I do get to use if for personal calls and can basically use it as my personal phone as well if I choose to within reasonable usage (many people do this at my work). I do have to pay $20/month as a usage co-pay but worked covered the cost of the phone and monthly charges.  This is a sweet deal considering my personal phone doesn't have unlimited data and even though it is under my wife's cell account it still costs us a lot more for data.

With the iPhone 5 coming out shortly there have been a few people say I should have waited. I figured since the phone is free and I needed to get a work cell sooner rather than later I would just get the 4s for now and if I like iOS and the phone I will upgrade my personal phone to the iPhone 5 when I can upgrade or just drop my personal one all together and when I can upgrade my work phone I will just get what ever comes after iPhone 5 in two years.

We will see over the next few months.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

House Buying

One thing we have definitely learned from this process so far is this...

What ever you think you have set aside for a down payment make sure you increase that amount by another 10% at minimum to cover all these "little" things like, inspections, closing costs and items to clean/buy new for when you move in. While we do have this I do wish we had more set aside to make me feel a little more comfortable at the end when writing the "big check" to finalize the deal.

You know it's going to be expensive going through the whole process but OMG... seeing the numbers (even after working in a bank's mortgage department writing software) is still a shock at times. 

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

New Job

So this week I started a new job. I am happy to not be working for a bank finally. Although it does suck to lose vacation (4 weeks cut down to 2).

I am happy to see that this new job actually spend time trying to onboard you instead of how it was at my last place. Where they said here is your cube, watch these online videos and don't call us if you need anything because we can't help.

New place is such a nice change of pace so far. Hopefully it worked out for the best in the long run.

OK it wasn't that bad... but still it was very lacking.