April 21st, 2008

Getting Work Started
A Tip for Procrastinators

Good Monday everyone!

For most of us, it is the start of another week day. The procrastinator in some of us may still cling on the hems of Sunday’s lazy, comfortable sheets but listen, no matter how adept you are at putting off work, you have to do work eventually because that is what you are being paid to do. But a tiny voice in your head says, “but the deadline is still 2 days away!” Listen to this little guy and before you knew it’s Wednesday and you haven’t done a thing.

Yes, there are deadlines for work. But there’s also a deadline for when to start work. The difference is – you get to define it. The problem? Most of us do not clearly define our “start work deadline”.

Food Clock

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March 1st, 2008

31 Days of Lists – I Have A Plan

How do you keep to posting a list a day without running out of things to talk about or worse, ending up feeling like you’re doing a chore? Would you write down your grocery list every other day?

Well, for a start, you’ll need quite a bit of discipline. But I think, with proper planning, even the most commitment-phobic blogger can accomplish this task without resorting to listing mundane things for the sake of posting something. Creating a post a day for 31 days and sticking to a theme will seem less daunting if you have planned your posts ahead.

Remember micromovements? 1 whole month sounds like a very long time but how does 1 week sound like? Much more manageable, yes? If I divide my 1 month into 4 weeks, I only need to concentrate on writing for the next 7 days. And if I have a different theme each week, I only need to concentrate on one topic of interest per week. The advantage of doing this is that it helps me focus, generates anticipation for the reader and eliminate the need to post something, ANYTHING, just because I have to.

So, where do I start? Why, by creating a list of things to list for the next 30 days of course! Here’s my plan for March:

The Masterplan

1 The First List aka The Masterplan (you’re reading it)
2 Random Sunday

Week 1 – Theme 1
3 New Monday
4 Desert Island Tuesday
5 Wednesday Websites
6 Trivia Thursday
8 Saturday Summary
9 Random Sunday

Week 2 – Theme 2
10-14 Themed Lists
15 Week 2 Recap
16 Random Sunday

Week 3 – Theme 3
17-21 Themed Lists
22 Week 3 Recap
23 Random Sunday

Week 4 – Theme 4
24-28 Themed Lists
29 Week 4 Recap
30 Random sunday

31 The Last List

I plan to further divide the days of the weeks into their own themes:
on Mondays, I’ll try something new;
Tuesdays’ lists are inspired by Desert Island Discs;
on Wednesdays you’ll get to see a list of websites I love;
Thursdays are for trivia and
on Fridays, I’ll list the things I’m thankful for.

I’m leaving my weekends open for random things because the last thing I want to do on a weekend is think. I’ll be announcing my theme for the week on Sundays and will do a recap on Saturdays.

A final note – the above is just a guide. I wouldn’t be too upset if I don’t manage to stick to it religiously. The most important thing for me (and you) is to have fun! Have a good March, everyone!

Related Links
National Blog Posting Month
SARK Micromovement

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Desktop Cleanup

Day 1

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February 29th, 2008

Tablet Do’s and Don’ts

As you’d remember, my table is now clean and tidy. But since I have only a tiny space to put my things on (the cat is still occupying a good half of the desk), I tend to place my folder on top of my Wacom tablet. I’d usually move the folder away when I need to use the tablet.

You know what? I just discovered that I can use my tablet with the folder full of paper on top of it! How great is that? How can I not know this before? I’ve used a tablet while working in another company years ago and the most I did was to trace a thin sheet of paper with my sketch on.

I tried piling different things on top of the tablet to see how much it can take before losing sensitivity. Results vary with different material. It can safely take up to 1.5cm of copy paper. One CD case if fine, but not two. It didn’t work over a sachet of instant coffee. It worked up to page 328 of W magazine (the one with Scarlett Johansson and Natalie Portman on the cover). It even worked over a box of chocolates! What else is there to try?

Naturally I thought of experimenting on things more… desk-related…like…the cat. Yes the one that’s always sleeping on my desk (not Moo Moo, she’d be stealing my stylus if I were to try that).

Result? Apparently cats are allowed to take up any amount of space they desire, but one should never, ever attempt to poke a sleeping cat with a stylus.

Do's and don'ts of using a Wacom tablet

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February 20th, 2008

Desktop Cleanup 3

My desk cleanup is a success. Although I initially planned to do just the bottom left quarter, I unintentionally cleaned the top-left section too. There’s now just one folder for everything, a mug, a pencil case and a cat. I didn’t do the area behind the monitor but for now (forever?)… out of sight, out of mind.

My Desk - Clean!

My pencil case is doubling as a comfy pillow for the cat(why is he still here? God knows!), who, in the absence of clutter, decided he didn’t like my pen holder much (he pushed it off the desk twice, how annoying).

I declare this project complete and a success.
Now where can I put my pen holder?

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February 18th, 2008

Desktop Cleanup Part 2

My Desk

So I got to cleaning the bottom right quarter of my desk. All pens and pencils in this quarter are now in the pen holder. All empty wrappers are gone. Papers are now kept neatly in a folder. I found 3 CDs, 2 pen caps and $2.20 under the mess. The cat? He got back on the desk after the cleanup, so my phone is still on the floor (he pushed it off again, the little brat).

I’m working on the bottom left quarter now. My cat doesn’t look too happy with the ruckus.

1) Remove one of the mugs (I think I only need one)
2) Put markers into pencil case
3) Throw away empty snack wrappers.
4) Remove all but one folder.
5) Put all loose papers and clipping into one folder.

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February 15th, 2008

Desktop Cleanup

MicroMOVEMent is a term coined by SARK for the method of dividing a main task into a number of tiny tasks(in chunks of about 5 minutes or less) in order to accomplish a goal. Instead of looking at the big picture, you break down the process into very small, very manageable steps. This way you’ll feel a sense of achievement for every little accomplishment, which in turn, will motivate you to move closer towards achieving your goal.

I am running out of space to work so today I want to clean my desk. My working space is 1.5m by 1.5m ….hang on a minute, let me confirm that. Nope, it’s 78cm by 60cm. No wait, that’s still not right.. I’ve included the area under immovables such as the monitor.

My Desk

Ok, my effective workable working space is 35cm by 78cm, that’s less than 15in by 30in, which is small, but it’s something I can live with provided things remain in their respective places as shown above. Pens and pencils in holder, Copic markers in pencil case, pieces of papers and news clippings kept neatly in folders.

But no. In reality, my desk is an untidy mess of loose papers, uncapped pens and markers, empty snack wrappers, receipts from 2006 and 2 mugs(one for coffee, one for “other”). My Wacom tablet, something that came to my possession less than two weeks ago, is now buried somewhere underneath this behemoth pile of junk. And on top of it all there’s a CAT.

My Messy Desk

Why do I even need a cat on my desk? It doesn’t even remotely qualify as office equipment. It just sits there purring and blocking my screen. The worst part, it never fails to push my phone off the desk. Every single time. On purpose. I’m not talking about the phone accidentally falling as the kitty shifted its huge, lazy bum around. No, it literally uses its paw to push the phone down thinking, “Oh look, a phone, let’s push it off the desk.”

What I’ve drawn above is in fact a less-cluttered representation of the actual state of my desk. The pile (sans cat) is about 4 inches thick. I feel thoroughly overwhelmed each time I tried to bring myself to tidy up the mess. So I am giving micromovement a try.

Today, I’ll concentrate on the bottom right quarter of my desk.

1) Remove sleeping kitty.
2) Put pens into pen holder.
3) Throw away empty snack wrappers.
4) Neatly stack loose papers on top of tablet.

We’ll see how it goes.

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