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A 5 post collection

Nothing Scheduled, Nothing Gained

 •  Filed under By Me, Productivity, Calendars

This blog has been gradually winding down in activity for the last few weeks. You've probably noticed. It's been hard to watch as I used to be a frequent poster. Daily blog posts, links and other trivial things that might interest you the reader.

Truth of the matter is that client work has all but consumed my week. I've got two projects on at the moment and I'm splitting my time between them in fortnightly periods. The work is good and it looks like it will carry through to the new year which I've no complaints over.

The problem has been dividing my time so that I'm not always hunkered over my desk. My desk is where you'll find me through the day, usually wrestling with some code, but sitting there outside of my client hours makes it difficult to 'switch off'. Lately though, once the client work is finished you'll usually find me playing with the kids until bedtime and then its television for an hour or two before the exhaustion kicks in.

A couple of years ago I had a good routine going. Writing in the morning, 3 periods of client work throughout the day, as well as time to work on new languages and frameworks and working on side-projects. I was getting things done. Not just that, but I was also getting out on the bike and keeping the weight off. Last time I was out on the bike was a few weeks ago with Ethan. I haven't been out on the bike since.

Last night I took a look at the heat map on my Timepage app for December. Aside from the usual calendar functions, it shows your calendar as a heat map where you're busy and not so busy. Almost nothing showed up. There's a day where Ethan has golf coaching and a day for the Star Wars showing. Apart from that there was nothing. It seems I have lost sight of one of the fundamentals of any productivity system. Schedule it.

Client work has become such a big part of my day that I no longer plan for anything else getting done. Without the planning of the day most stuff falls through the cracks. It's usually the little things like writing and side-projects. They've suffered the most.

Out of sight, out of mind. If you don't see something often enough you tend to forget about it. Like my calendar. I didn't plan for anything and therefore didn't see the need to look at my calendar. Everyday was turning into the same work getting done so why bother scheduling anything?

I've just proven to myself that there's nothing gained from an empty calendar. Time to change that.

My Wall Calendar Problem

 •  Filed under Calendars, By Me

I would love to have a wall calendar that would give me an at a glance view of what's coming up the next few months. Here's the problem though, my office is just a small corner of a larger sitting room we call "the den". I already have nice pictures on the wall and therefore I would rather not try and squeeze in a wall calendar when I only need to see it when I'm working. So what are the alternatives?

Whiteboard + Wall Calendar

One idea I had was to use a whiteboard to put my chosen wall calendar on and bring it out only when I'm working. The only issue I have with is that the only space where I could put this is behind me and therefore it wouldn't be within my sight. This is only a minor issue though. It would still be within easy reach to keep updated.

Printable Calendars

A printable calendar might be an option but then I think the main problem I'll have with this is size. The biggest I can print to is A4 and even printing a calendar across two pages is going to be still too small. Also spreading the calendar across separate pages loses it continuity.

In searching for printable calendars though, I did discover a great calendar by David Seah. Although it isn't suitable for my needs, I think there might be a few of you who might find it useful.

Desktop Wall Calendar

Right, I know what you're thinking. This is probably the last place you would want to view a full year calendar. Well, yes and no. Ideally I would like to have something away from my desktop, but I'm pretty limited in choices there so why not explore the possibility of a desktop calendar? My monitor is big enough that I wouldn't need to squint my eyes to see the details and I run most of my day to day applications full-screen anyway, so why

I've tried running Calendar full screen using the year view but this isn't what I'm looking for. The months are spaced out with white space between them and I already have various calendars populating this. I would rather just see a blank calendar that doesn't show me my day to day appointments.

I also tried creating a wall calendar using Trello, but with it only showing seven lists on my screen, it's hard to see the whole year at a glance. This was a long shot to be honest. I knew this might not work but still I gave it a try.

Next I turned to the Internet yet despite the vast volumes of free tools and resources on the web, I couldn't find a tool or open source library that can do this for me or even come near it.

My next step is to spin up a web page and run it full screen but given my commitments at the moment, it's probably the last thing I need to be doing. I'll keeping hunting for a solution in the meantime.

The NOW Year Calendar

 •  Filed under Calendars, Productivity

I love the idea of incorporating monthly themes into the calendar.

The NOW Calendar

Each month leaves a space on the first day to enter your Monthly Theme, and you can also theme your weeks as well if you wish. These themes will act as catalysts to inspire you to move the projects forward that you want to complete and the goals that you want to turn into reality. By planning these things now, you’re setting yourself up with a better chance for success in the future. And The NOW Year Calendar keeps the plan front and centre in a design that is both simple and stunning.

The NOW Calendar