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Doomz: Child of the Stars.

A Story of Ladies, Love, and Luchini


Moved to Greener Pastures
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Hi, everyone! While the content on this site isn't getting any fresher, it doesn't mean that I haven't been up to anything!

You can find my more recent work at http://www.caseypalmer.com, where my only mission at the moment is to keep making awesome stuff!

Please note that it's possible over there as well to subscribe to email updates — there's a box on the right-hand side where you can enter your email address.

I hope you come and check out the new stuff I have to offer!

See you there,

--case p.

Posted via email from 2K11 24/7


The 2K11 24/7 CIX: Your Personal Brand, Your Business — Event in Review
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Yesterday, I found myself in a room with less than a dozen people — more than 90% of whom I'd never met before — and we were all there to discuss the topic du jour: one's Personal Brand.

In what would have otherwise ben a regular Monday night (Dashing off to Dodgeball, Drinking with the Dodgeball Team and Dodging Dodgeballs), Kevin saw fit to intervene, letting me know about an event series that he'd been attending. Kev is generally in the know about the different social media and web development events going on around Toronto, so I'll often lend an ear when he's trying to tell me what's going on.

$10 and a quick jaunt later, I was at the Camaraderie Co-operative where the event would be held. And it was at that very moment where I learned an important lesson — no two tweetups/meetups/events are created equally. Not all of them come in large packages. Where I was used to conferences of 1500, Twitter-organized parties of hundreds and speaker engagements of dozens, this was a small, intimate group there to discuss and learn about a topic of interest. You had all the time in the world to get all of your questions in. It was small enough so that you got to know a bit about everyone in the room. And since there were only so many people around, the information was tailored to the audience, not simply rehashed from documents that had been passed around a number of times from hand to hand. In short — it was probably the last thing I expected.

We focused not only on how one should go about developing one's personal brand, but also about how one should portray that brand on the big three social networks (LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook). To show that even if you think you're a pro that you can always learn from just about anywhere, here's a few things I quickly learned from this event:

  • While I make great use of my Facebook and Twitter accounts, I could do a far better job at optimizing my LinkedIn account (and I wish I'd been at the April 11th event, since that's what that session was all about!) — past creating a very detailed profile, I haven't really done too much with it
  • When posting content to the Internet, one should make a message tailored to each individual audience, since you will very likely have a different audience on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn (which is a very good tip that I've never followed and will start to)
  • New tools and things to read, such as TwitterFall and Mitch Joel's "Six Pixels of Separation", which Kev had suggested to me earlier

A good number of people had to skeedaddle right after the event though, so I didn't get to meet everyone, but I did get to know a fellow civil servant, someone looking to develop a company specializing in personal branding and the speaker for the event, Sue Varty (Marc Roginsky had been there but had to leave early), slightly better by the end of the night. It was informative and if you're pretty new to Twitter and looking to learn how to optimize it, maybe you should look at checking out the April 25th session!

So with that, I'm off to keep working on my personal brand. Want to help? Make sure to spread the love — tell people I'm here to try to improve lives.

One day at a time.

--Casey E. Palmer

109/365

Posted via email from 2K11 24/7


The 2K11 24/7 CIII: The Quest for Less Manifesto — 3 of 3: ENTROPY
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We worry too much.

Here in Toronto, worrying is the name of the game. We're either worrying about where we're going to get money to pay off our debts, or worrying about how we're going to save up enough money to buy stuff so we can worry about where to get the money to pay THOSE debts off.

We worry about or futures, we worry about what's already passed. The weather, chores, our jobs — they're all fair game. We worry about our stuff and get more stuff to cope with the worry.

You know that I don't hide the fact that I'm an advocate for having less stuff. I think that it's the things that we need that should be made sexy — not the things that we think we want. Life would be far less confusing this way. But stuff is everywhere. You can't hide from it. Advertising is everywhere we look. Stuff will FIND you.

So what can you do about it all? How do you become happier in this maelstrom of activity around you?

Well, there's some key rules you can follow:

1: Don't get MORE stuff, get the RIGHT stuff!

Do it right the first time!

The problem with the modern consumer is that we have too many things in our too-small spaces. Then as those things grow tattered through use, we get new stuff, often hanging onto the older stuff due to laziness or sentimentality. One needs more pieces that last — it might take some saving, it might take some sacrifice; but you'll come out ahead in the ahead when you only have to buy something once and have it pay for itself over future years by the saved cost of not having to buy a similar item again. Quality always wins over quantity, which I've started to realize through frayed collars on cheap dress shirts and one too many cheap BIC pens bursting in pants pockets...

2: Come back home with LESS than when you left

This can be really hard, but it's a good practice to look into. If you strive to come home with less stuff you had on you than when you went out the door in the morning, you'll encounter a gradual effect where you slowly get rid of all the things that were simply cluttering your existence. And wouldn't it be way better to have less weighing you down after a long day of being out? Of course, the flip side of this is that you have to make an active effort to not get more stuff while you're out. No shopping for the sake of shopping; no getting more stuff that you may already have at home without using up the stuff at home first — because for the next tip, we remember that...

3: You only have SO MUCH space

Space is one of the things that are at a premium in most of our lives. Do you really want to waste it all on stuff you rarely use? The places we live and work, I feel, should reflect what we do most with our time. The items you have around you should inspire you and enable you to do the best you can do. We shouldn't be holding on to things without good reason for doing so. I recently found that my room got a little more chill by bagging and tagging some clothes for donation, sending some articles to Instapaper and just finding space for all of my random stuff. It's still a work in progress, but if it helps you sleep better at night, I say totally go for it!

4: Someone ELSE could PROBABLY use it more than you.

You're going to have the opportunity to accumulate a lot of stuff in your lifetime, but I'll just let you in on the big joke of life when it comes down to material possessions —

MOST OF IT'S GOING TO BE JUNK.

It's true! We have this fixation on owning everything that we possibly can! But the worst thing is that in our blind rush to amass the wealth of things that we do, we often have things that others could DEFINITELY use, but we're too stubborn to give them up.

Look around you at your possessions. Unless you're an organizational superstar and you've managed to find a way to get your life in total equilibrium, you probably have a bunch of stuff that you haven't used in QUITE some time. Books, clothes, movies, non-perishable food items — it could be just about anything. You say that you'll eventually use them, but oftentimes you're just kidding yourself.

But what if someone ELSE could ACTUALLY make use of these seldom-used items? I find that life is a lot better when helping others — I tend to give stuff away that I'm not using if someone else seems like they could use it. This has included things like old cell phones, computer RAM, cameras — it's just not HEALTHY to hoard too much stuff! And looking around, I know that there's more yet that I'd love to see out of my life, if I just make the time to clean up some more. (I'm sure you'll hear more about it as time passes!)

There's not enough time in the day to use all your stuff — really think about what you NEED, and stick to that instead of fulfilling each and every whim you have :)

5: Know the resources you have. USE THEM WISELY.

We have really short memories. We see coupons and deals; hear of amazing new tools and resources — but then we can get distracted, going back to our lives without making the improvements that are available to us out there in VAST QUANTITIES. I've mentioned getting so many Groupons that we forget we have them, and if you're like me and have amassed a lot of coupons, discounts, gift codes and so on from different events, it's a lot to keep track of. Things will expire, companies will close or change their policies — I even got as far as establishing a second wallet to carry gift certificates, rarely used store cards — yeah. Don't be a Casey. Use what you get and don't hold onto them for a special occasion. Treat yourself sometimes, if only to restore some sanity in your life!

So there you have it. These rules — I think you could use them to devise your very own Quest for Less and be successful at it. Having less stuff is one of the main keys for living a better life — I stand by that. And if you don't believe me, just heed the words of Malcolm-Jamal Warner:

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And with that, I bid you adieu!

--case p.

103/365

Previous Posts in the Quest for Less Manifesto Series:

Posted via email from 2K11 24/7


The 2K11 24/7 C: 100 Tips for the 100th Post!
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Wow. WOW. Has it been 100 posts already?! Insane! It's been a crazy few months so far for this year's blog — from its beginnings where I had no idea of what to do or what to write, it's definitely seen its highs and lows, but no matter what, the daily posts keep on coming!

To celebrate making it here, I've spent the past couple of weeks putting together a list of 100 tips that will IMPROVE YOUR LIFE*.

*Well I know they'd improve mine; I can't guarantee they'd do the same for yours, but I'm pretty confident that you wouldn't feel as crappy.

  1. Learn how to behave in the washroom. Don't be nasty.
  2. Stop using IE6! http://ie6countdown.com/ - there's only 12% of the world left using IE6, and it needs to stop as soon as possible (I'm looking at you, China)!
  3. Take breaks! Take time off from the craziness of the world around you and just spend time by yourself, rediscovering things about yourself that you may have forgotten.
  4. Small talk is good, but ACTUALLY getting to know somebody is a FAR more rewarding experience
  5. Don't spit. It's disgusting and reserved for llamas (and camels, spittle bugs, spitting cobras and walruses).
  6. Carry a small pad of paper and a pen with you wherever you go — JUST IN CASE.
  7. MEN: At any time, be ready to give your seat up for: children, the elderly, the physically disabled, and of course, your significant other
  8. WOMEN: in most cases, minus the significant other, everything else applies
  9. Learn the difference between trash, recycling, compost, and greener alternatives to any of these
  10. Sleep lots. (You can never get it back after you've lost it!)
  11. Get counselling! (Everyone needs a little help sometimes — don't be afraid to admit it!)
  12. It's not always about you, so don't take everything personally. (Life is like an airport — we all come with our own baggage.)
  13. Smile often, even in the hard times.
  14. Be selfless, not selfish.
  15. Don't let the negativity take control. Nip those thoughts in the bud before they become a bigger problem than they need to be.
  16. Pray daily. And if you don't believe, meditate.
  17. You are who you hang out with. Keep the awesome people close and the Negative Neds and Nancys at bay.
  18. Cut coupons and use them ONLY for things you were going to buy ANYWAY. They're not an excuse to buy extra crap!
  19. Be generous with more than just your money. (Time, patience and love all come to mind.)
  20. Walk as much as possible for as much as you're able.
  21. If you're not drinking at a bar, get water. Juice is a rip-off and the pop's probably watered down.
  22. Wants are not needs. The needs come first, and the list is MUCH shorter.
  23. Stairs. Learn to use them. And if you DO use them, stick to the flow of traffic. It's like highway driving in rural areas — it's cool for people on both sides to be going the same way if someone's passing, but otherwise stick to one side. Or I will plow you down.
  24. Escalators are easier. Walk on the left, stand on the right. If you're standing on the left, I reserve the right to cough and say irritated "Excuse Mes" behind you until you move.
  25. Quit your bad habits. Now. You think you're not hurting anyone, but you are. Sometimes it's just more obvious than others.
  26. Neither "yo mama" nor "that's what she said" are appropriate responses to statements unless actually referring to someone's mother and the things she or another female may have said.
  27. Pick up after yourself, your pets, and your family.
  28. If you're in a rush, you probably didn't plan well enough.
  29. Don't spend a wad of cash on an impulse buy only to discover that things were better in the first place. Do your research and think it through.
  30. File your taxes online (where possible) and early (to avoid the rush).
  31. If someone doesn't introduce you by name, they've forgotten it. Remind them what it is. NICELY.
  32. If there's no pole available on a subway, stand perpendicular to the direction the train's going in to counter the force of its movement.
  33. I won't judge you if you don't judge me. It's good to identify one's faults before identifying those of anyone else.
  34. Spend more time doing what it is that you WANT to do.
  35. Don't procrastinate — make like Nike and JUST DO IT.
  36. Always remember that race is only a social construct!
  37. Physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health are all important — try your best to keep them all balanced.
  38. Do more squats! (You'll need those legs.)
  39. Learn something new every day.
  40. Think critically — don't simply accept everything that everyone tells you at face value.
  41. Seek first to understand before you seek to be understood.
  42. Don't microwave food in your Tupperware — use a plate!
  43. Don't cut corners — do it right the first time to save yourself from extra work later.
  44. YARFY — You are Responsible for Yourself; take responsibility for the actions that you make in life.
  45. Don't be so hard on yourself or others — forgiveness is one of the keys to happiness.
  46. You are not above an apology.
  47. Eat your vegetables. (You'll totally thank me for this a few years down the road.)
  48. Donate blood! (Blood cells only take 4–6 weeks to completely regenerate!)
  49. Learn how to use the privacy settings on Facebook properly.
  50. Trust your instincts!
  51. Don't get mad at what you can't control. (Especially when driving.)
  52. All-nighters sound WAY more fun than they actually are (i.e. "not very")
  53. Drink lots of water.
  54. You are what you think!
  55. DON'T CLIP YOUR NAILS IN PUBLIC!!!
  56. Chew with your mouth closed. You know who chews with their mouths open? Cows. Horses. Know what you probably looks like if you chew with your mouth open?
  57. SMILE! It makes you more approachable! It automatically makes you more fun! Unless it's a creepy smile. DON'T DO A CREEPY SMILE! Smile like you mean it, but don't overdo it! Fake smiles are ALWAYS WORSE than real ones!
  58. If no one else is there, DON'T TAKE THE MIDDLE SEAT. Or stall. Or urinal. You should always be at one end or the other. Unless it's bread. Does anyone actually like bread ends?
  59. FEET OFF OF THE SEATS! Public transportation already has a footrest for your feet — it's called the floor. Use it.
  60. The people in your conversation should win over your smartphone for attention. EVERY time.
  61. A conversation is held between a limited number of people, not everyone in the room. Anyone who talks loudly enough to be heard across the room and over another conversation NEEDS a mute button.
  62. KEEP IT RELEVANT! We have shorter attention spans than ever these days — if you're writing someone about a specific event (a party, meeting them for the first time, etc.), I give you 48 hours to follow up. After that, you gradually start to transition from friendly face to footnote.
  63. IF IT AIN'T BROKE, DON'T FIX IT! Sometimes, things should be kept as is. S\Here's a story for you: one Saturday, I was mainly at home doing chores. I really needed a haircut, though. Because I was lazy, I decided to hit one up 5minutes away rather than my usual, which was 30. After slow service and an unnaturally long haircut, I ended up with what was arguably the worst cut I'd had in a very long time. So if you'e got a system and it works, STICK TO IT. It works for a REASON.
  64. However, DO admit when things ARE broke!!!
  65. I don't care who you are or what you think; there are RIGHT and WRONG ways to hang your toilet paper! (For the record, it should be hung with the paper falling toward you, not away.)
  66. Jeans pockets are a deception. If you want to make your jeans last, use them as SELDOM as possible.
  67. Follow through on the commitments you make. If you can't, apologize early so that someone ELSE can do it.
  68. There are only 24 hours in a day. Factoring in hygiene, food, sleep and work, you only have about 4 hours of "free time". Learn how to optimize this if you can.
  69. Work-life balance isn't solely the managing of your time between the two. If you don't like you work, it WILL affect the rest of your life. THAT'S work-life balance.
  70. I won't listen to Justin Bieber, but I can respect his hustle.
  71. Getting a BlackBerry was the second smartest thing I ever did for my sanity. Learning to put it away was the first.
  72. Wanna stop getting your butt whooped at Scrabble? Remember:
  • QI, ZA, JA, XI and XU are your friends
  • get rid of Cs and Vs as soon as possible
  • Bonus spots and bingos will make or break the game
  • Everything is better live.
  • Take care of yourself now, because it gets harder every year.
  • Life isn't fair. Accept it. Just live YOURS as well as you can.
  • Take time to enjoy your accomplishments.
  • Get to know yourself. It's one person you won't be able to get rid of anytime soon.
  • Pushing an elevator button multiple times won't make it come any faster. Same goes for crosswalks.
  • PAY ATTENTION, or the world will pass you by!
  • Quality always wins over quantity.
  • Listening is a highly valuable yet seldom-used skill.
  • Common sense is one of the worst-named traits ever. Don't take for granted that a lot of people just don't have it.
  • Don't buy anything that's just going to sit around until its expiry date.
  • Winning the lotto jackpot has some of the worst odds of just about anything occurring on Earth. Ever. Just putting it out there.
  • Do for others what you'd wish them to do for you, but do it better than they would ever do it.
  • Don't seek to enter a relationship expecting it to make you happy. You must be happy with yourself before you can bring it into a relationship.
  • Function wins over fashion, but yes, fashion's still DAMN good.
  • Look both ways before crossing the street. Especially in a city's downtown. ESPECIALLY if you're wearing HEADPHONES.
  • Make way for emergency response vehicles. I can almost GUARANTEE you that your "emergency" isn't as important as theirs.
  • S/he who smelt it, dealt it. Mostly due to the laws of science, specifically where it refers to the diffusion of gases.
  • If they look too young for you, they probably are.
  • "Generations" will become smaller and smaller as technology grows faster and faster. In enough time, you'll be able to have a conversation with someone five years younger than you and realize that you have nothing in common to talk about.
  • Don't argue with fools. ('Cause people from a distance can't tell who is who.)
  • Aren't tights for wearing under other things and in dance studios? Did I miss the memo or something?
  • Life is not a Hollywood movie. They have a multi-million dollar budget and people trained to tell you a compelling story. Lower your expectations. Life's more like a documentary. Usually one of the low-budget, lesser-known ones.
  • Dress like you're a million bucks; with pride, confidence, and above all — SWAGGER.
  • Honesty is ALWAYS the best policy, no matter WHAT. It takes FAR less effort and memory to own up to the truth than it does to keep a lie alive.
  • Always tell people how much you love them (if you actually mean it, that is…)
  • Deodorant or a reasonable facsimile — don't leave home without it. No, seriously. DON'T.
  • Trust is difficult to gain, but one of the easiest things to lose. Of all the people I've met in my life, there are few I can trust to be who they say they'll be, no matter what. Fewer that I trust with my secrets. Even fewer I trust with my life. Trust me, trust is sacred!!!
  • So there you have it  — 100 tips which I hope are useful in improving your lives, if only by a bit. Thanks to all the friends, peers and coworkers who helped me put this together!

    Until tomorrow,

    --case p.

    100/365

    Posted via email from 2K11 24/7


    The 2K11 24/7 XCVI: The Art of Sarcasm
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    It is the humour of the sophisticated individual, the jokes that aren't immediately caught by the untrained ear, but have the potential to be hilarious when the connection is made.

    But at the same time, it is a tool that must be used selectively, for its power can easily backfire upon you.

    I've used sarcasm for as long as I can remember. Actually, it was likely in my teenage years where I decided that sarcasm was going to be an integral part of my life.

    Sarcasm can make you the funniest person in the room.

    Sarcasm can get you invited to parties since you tell such GREAT stories.

    But sarcasm can quickly make you lose friends as well.

    More than once, I've seen someone who exudes sarcasm THINK that they're funny, but really, they just become rude and hurtful.

    Words of jest and those of pain have a very fine line between them. If you're new to the world of sarcasm — or if you're running into too many situations that have taken a turn for the worse and you're in need of a self-check — here're some quick tips that will hopefully steer you right:

    1 — KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE

    Like in any form of communication, you've got to know your audience before you drop sarcasm on them. How will they react? Could you seriously damage relationships you'd rather keep? Is your comment really as funny as you think it is? These are all things to ask before you unintentionally make yourself a pariah of your social circle.

    2 — HAVE YOU USED TOO MUCH SARCASM ALREADY?

    I wish there were a magic formula to help calculate when enough sarcasm is enough, but unfortunately it's a subjective thing that's only learned through experience.

    Too much sarcasm and you're seen as a buzzkill or cynic, tainting the good time being had by others. If you're inexperienced with sarcasm and try to use it unsuccessfully, it could lead to a VERY awkward situation.

    Some good ways to do a self-check for your sarcasm usage include:

    Recalling how recently and how SEVERE your last sarcastic jab was and whether the audience has recovered from it yet
    If you're at an event, party, etc., imagine what the first impression that you're giving off looks like — if it's not what you want it to be, something's gotta give and you need to tweak your approach
    Sarcasm is the staple of teenager-parent interaction. It could be said that sarcasm is possibly a side effect of puberty, and in many cases is a behaviour retained through most of our adult life. But how many of the things you did as a teenager are things you still do frequently today? It may be time to reassess your approach to others, ensuring that it's one that you're comfortable with

    3 — CHECK YOUR TONE

    The worst is when you don't even INTEND to be sarcastic, but because of your delivery, that's the way your message is received ANYWAYTone is said to be 38% of the message we convey to others (of course, the study is 40 years old, and many argue that things aren't so simple), so you need to be sure that the one you're using is matching your message.

    One thing to try is to play what you're saying in your head before you say it, and try to see the different ways in which it could be interpreted. Or perhaps you should find some close friends who can give you an honest opinion on what you're doing, both right AND wrong.

    So remember: one can have all the tools in the world, but they're all useless if one doesn't know how to use them. Sarcasm is like a chainsaw — powerful when used correctly, but dangerous when in the wrong hands. Understand sarcasm. Treats others with respect. Recognize boundaries. Then, and ONLY then, might you be able to be fantastically sarcastic.

    --case p.

    96/365

    Posted via email from 2K11 24/7


    The 2K11 24/7 XCIII: Ready? Set? CONNECT!
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    The connections we make in our lives are just as important as the lives we choose to lead. They feed us. They supplement the things we want to do with our time on this planet. But by their very nature, they are paradoxical, for if you seek out new connections with the intent of filling gaps and voids in existence, you run the risk of alienating every connection that you have, leaving you with NONE.

    I LOVE meeting new people. I thrive on it. Within the first five minutes of meeting someone, I try and get a feel for what they're all about. After working a decade in customer service, I've come to abhor small talk. I think small talk, while it has its purposes as an icebreaker, that's all it is. You cannot develop a meaningful relationship from small talk alone! Small talk is the ultimate indication of not being invested in a conversation.

    So instead of small talk, in those first five minutes, I'll be asking question that really help me understand somebody:

    • What do you do with your free time?
    • What makes you tick?
    • If you had unlimited funds, what would you be doing right now?

    Contrast this to:

    • What do you do?
    • How do you know _____________ (fill in the blank with the name of the party host)?
    • Have you been here before?

    I am of the belief that we should build every relationship we have with others confident that they have the potential to be ones that can last for the rest of our lives.

    (Now obviously, this won't be the case — any relationship that's worth anything will involve much time and effort to keep it going: phone calls, emails, time spent together. You do not have the time available to you to make EVERY relationship a strong relationship. However, that shouldn't stop you from making an attempt to do so.)

    But with this, there is one rule you must NEVER forget — it's mentioned in many books by networking "gurus" and in training materials for both executives and young professionals trying to make their way in the professional world:

    Ask not what they can do for you, but what YOU can do for THEM.

    Sounds reminiscent of JFK, doesn't it? It's such an old way of thinking, yet we seem to constantly forget it! If I'm meeting you for the first time, I'm asking you questions to:

    • See where I can help
    • See where I might know people who are able to help
    • See where YOU might be able to help OTHERS

    When you go into a new situation reeking of the impression that you're out to get something from people — that you're there to meet people for some ulterior motive — it turns people off instantly. You might be the nicest person in the world, but give that vibe off and it won't even matter.

    So make connections as honestly and transparently as you possible can. If you see a situation where you can help, HELP. If a question's asked and you know the answer to it, ANSWER IT. There have been too many times where I've been in a classroom, seminar or meeting, and people are just too afraid to speak up. These situations are full of missed opportunities to connect and few come out of them for the better.

    Without connecting with others, life can be far more difficult than it needs to be. For example, our wedding wouldn't be coming along as smoothly as it is without help:

    • The jeweller for the ring was referred through a friend
    • The flowers and card stock for the invitations were referred through one of Sarah's coworkers
    • My buddy Tyrone printed the invitations for us
    • We found our photographers through Twitter

    …and so on. A lot of it has come together through having connected with people in the past and being willing to make connections now.

    So go forth. Connect. But remember — try to fool anyone and you're only fooling yourself.

    --case p.

    93/365

    Posted via email from 2K11 24/7


    The 2K11 24/7 LXXXVIII: An Attack Plan on Post-its
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    Post-its are some of the best tools in my arsenal. I've seen them used to decorate the covers of folders to tell people what to do; they're used as reminders so that people don't forget important things that they need to do — me? I use them as a way to keep my life organized and as a strategic tool in the projects I work on.

    How do I do it? It's not too complicated:

    1 - I use them to break larger projects down into smaller, digestible chunks of info

    There's things we all want to (or HAVE to) accomplish. If you look at them from a high-level view, they may seem impossible to do, or that you'll never see the end of the work. With Post-it notes, I make this a little easier on myself. All I do is put the tasks down on Post-it notes, one per note. This helps me to better quantify the things I need to do in order to be successful, and it makes a project more real by being able to see all of its individual parts.

    2 - I sketch out individual ideas as they come to me

    Just like fleshing out a project, when you start writing lists of items, new things will often come to you. Write 'em out! Even a completely ridiculous idea is better than a lost one.

    3 - Create tactile checklists

    To-do lists are fine. You can use AwesomeNote on your iPhone, your Outlook task list, tasks through Google or BlackBerry — heck. There's tons available out there for you to use in order to manage all the things you need to do. But you know what? Nothing beats the satisfaction of being able to toss out Post-its as you accomplish tasks. (Striking items through with a black Sharpie upon completion does come in as a close second.)

    4 - Create visual and fluid information frameworks (flowcharts, mindmaps, etc.)

    With this process, however, you're bound to end up with multiple checklists, and if you don't figure out which one to tackle first, you may just end up doing yourself more harm than help. So I organize them into some sort of framework connecting them together, whether it's a project, something for work, my wedding, etc.

    The ones I have put together right now include:
    It's not as if there's a shortage of things to do — sorry. This system won't do your work for you.

    But hopefully, if you stick to it, it'll help you make sure that nothing's missed.

    --case p.

    88/365

    Posted via email from 2K11 24/7


    The 2K11 24/7 LXXXVII: Home Away From Home
    main image, doomz
    doomsdayblaze

    I think I finally understand where the stereotype of the writer working away on a manuscript in a coffee shop comes from.

    IT'S HARD TO WRITE AT HOME.

    Bloggers with kids? I don't know how you do it.

    Professional writers? I don't know how you do it.

    Bloggers with kids who live in rural areas off of a dial-up connection and no coffee shop anywhere in sight? You are magical, magical beings.

    Seriously, though — writing at home is a disaster waiting to happen — it's just one distraction after another!

    And the worst part?

    ALL OF THEM ARE SELF-GENERATED!!!

    I had a teacher when I was younger named Mrs. Geh. I can honestly say that she's a stupendous woman and taught me a lot about how I could approach the world around me. One of her FAVOURITE acronyms was

    YARFY — You Are Responsible for Yourself

    So I'm not going to go transferring  the blame onto anyone else for my distractions. And those distractions come in MANY forms.

    Some examples:

    • If I keep at a task for too long, I might get sleepy — so what do I do? Go to work while lying down to relax. Yeah. Smart move. Doesn't take too long for working supine to become a nap sublime…
    • We tend to see a lot of the things we keep in our homes as one long to-do list. So when you're trying to work away on your writing, your head's constantly swerving in other directions, looking at the things you promised yourself that you'd do, but never got around to dealing with. Productive!
    • Your stuff is in your house, both good and bad. You have all the tools you use to create content (e.g. computer, pens and pads, reference materials), but you also have your CDs and DVDs, video games, food… essentially, without discipline, your house is pretty much designed to work against your focus.

    So what does one do? This post is going to be all about the easier route — avoiding the problem. If you can't get work done at home, you're going to have to establish somewhere else where your ideas will flow freely and you'll do what it is that you're supposed to do!

    University and college campuses are always awesome for this, since they're basically meant to have just about every possible area as a congregation space, but if that's not your style (especially if you're not in university anymore, and if you're still creeping around as a much older adult — LEAVE THE KIDS ALONE), try one of these:

    • Coffee shop — Toronto's catching up with the world in that we're finally getting wi-fi in our coffee shops as more of the norm. If you need to be somewhere where it's customary to hang around and do your work but you won't have to deal with most of the distractions of home living, this might be option #1
    • Library — Yes, libraries still exist. They're way more diverse than they would have been a couple of decades ago, and still provide ample space for you to get into the zone. They can be calm, relaxing and serene — mostly because they still want you to be quiet while working in there. The nerve!
    • Food courts in unpopular shopping centres — These are awesome because no one ACTUALLY wants to shop there. You avoid mallrats, hurried parents and anyone who would usually be causing a loud ruckus, because in all honesty, they have better malls to be shopping at. You shouldn't have too much trouble finding a table, and the food likely won't distract you — none of it's all that good, anyway. This spot will be even better when it's NOT lunch time.
    • Any area that is densely populated by commuters working 9–5 Monday to Friday at a time that isn't 9–5 on Monday through Friday — I really don't think that this needs any explanation.

    You'll notice that I haven't included any outdoor locales on this list. You might also notice that it's March and I live in Toronto. Hanging out outside is SO three months from now.

    So find your quiet place. Get your work done. Ideally, it'll be where you live; but if it's not — it's a big world out there. Go find your place.

    --case p.

    Posted via email from 2K11 24/7


    The 2K11 24/7 LXXXVI: Inspirational Sundays — Instapaper Saves the Day!
    main image, doomz
    doomsdayblaze
    Sometimes you come across things in life that are so awesome that you can't help but share them. You're COMPELLED. They improve your life in ways you would have never imagined, and now, you'd never look back.

    With this in mind, cue Instapaper.

    I'd heard of Instapaper before — it's one of those things you see often enough in tech blogs, on Twitter, etc. — I knew it was used to mark things for later reading, but I had no idea why I'd want to use another service that was just like Delicious or Springpad, collecting my bookmarks (albeit conveniently) for later use.

    I couldn't have been more wrong.

    Yesterday I'd mentioned that I was still toiling away on getting documents digitized for my big top-secret project. I've mentioned this a number of times before, and I'm almost done with the scanning phase — thank GOODNESS!

    It's involved taking most of the old magazines, newspaper and their clippings that I've held onto (for who knows how long) and repurposing them. Some articles I found directly useful for my purposes — some where just things that I didn't want to bother scanning, but would be interesting for later reading. So, after I'd collected, disassembled and stacked all these articles in a pile, imagine it being about 1,000 sheets high.

    Seriously.

    But then, enter the ingenuity of Sean Boulton!

    Sean had told me that he was working on a variation of my digitizing, taking my actions and putting a twist on them to improve organization in HIS life.

    I can be a little slow on the uptake, so he had to explain it to me (totally paraphrasing here):

    SB — So you have a stack of articles you want to read, right?
    CP — Yup.
    SB — And they're taking up room?
    CP — Yup.
    SB — And you have an iPod Touch, right?
    CP — Yup.
    SB — Why don't you just use Instapaper?
    CP — Huh?
    SB — It lets you save articles from the Internet so you can read them later.
    CP — Yeah, I know. So?
    SB — The Instapaper app lets you save it to your iPod Touch so you can read them while you're offline without access to wi-fi.
    CP — That SOUNDS cool, but how does it apply...
    SB — Magazines GENERALLY post their articles online. You know? The same ones in your massive pile?
    CP — …HOLY CRAP.

    So if you have racks full of magazines, yellowing newspapers that you've yet to read, or websites flagged for later consumption, you should see if Instapaper's the solution YOU'VE been looking for!

    In conclusion, Sean, thank you for increasing my efficiency 1000%. Not only will I be able to quickly recycle all the stuff I have lying around, I won't need to buy anymore ebooks for a while. (Doesn't mean I won't, I just don't NEED to!)

    Thanks Instapaper for creating such a cool app. I already dropped the coin on the app for my iPod Touch so I could take advantage of this on my honeymoon (um, you know, in the moments where my fiancée isn't awake — I don't have a death wish here…)

    I'm off to finish cleaning up — hey! I think I can see some of the table cloth again! SWEET!!!

    --case p.

    86/365

    Disclaimer: Instapaper didn't pay or contact me to write this; I actually think it's a really cool tool that's making my life easier. I fully plan to tell them that I wrote it, though. Hey, if I made an app, I'd want to see that people appreciated it.

    Posted via email from 2K11 24/7


    The 2K11 24/7 LXXXV: Doin' It Old School
    main image, doomz
    doomsdayblaze
    When one does nothing with their day, do they have nothing to write about?

    Nothing... is a strong word. Today saw me:
    • Scan documents in to clean up some space;
    • Get a haircut after four months of growing it out — let us note that I did so because I just grew tired of the maintenance, not because anyone coerced me to — with a barber who was really old school about it, using electric razor, scissors and comb to give s haircut that took QUITE a long time due to the precision of the whole ordeal;
    • And now, I'm watching Braveheart for the very first time — it's on a long list of movies that I need to see sooner or later
    I'll admit it — not my most eventful of days — but not all days are going to end up being that way.

    I love to think of each day being a progressive step towards self-improvement, but it's not always easy to see it. It's all part of some massive master plan, and each day is just one of the fragments that make up the whole.

    It's been suggested that I try to build up a backlog of posts so I don't find myself writing day-to-day just to keep up (sort of like living cheque-to-cheque). But I find this challenging; I want my content to be fresh; I want it to be exciting! How do you make sure that you're still doing these when you're writing posts days, weeks, or even MONTHS in advance?

    Questions, questions, but not an answer in sight!

    For now, nothing's certain but Braveheart and taxes :(

    Until tomorrow,

    --case p.

    85/365

    Posted via email from 2K11 24/7


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