Some Links!

January 27, 2010 2 comments

I recently added some links to the Links section of my blog that I thought you should check out. Here’s a breakdown of what’s new:

The Mind Cemetery – Kingpotato (!) writes this blog. Mostly consisting of video game reviews, The Mind Cemetery also dabbles in the art of ranting, movie reviewing and finding sexy pictures of video game cosplayers (the Tekken girls in the 2nd link are my personal favourites).  I’m particularly fond of the video game reviews; Kingpotato pinpoints the best and worst in video games and wraps them all up with an arbitrary review system every time.

With an easy to remember url (http://vertmouth.biz) The Mind Cemetary is a great place to get a pop culture fix.

the awesome man’s burden – Formerly just “chako’s blog”, the awesome man’s burden features variety of humorous posts. My personal favourites are the “stern letters” in which Chako posts actual letters he sends to actual companies (check out this gem he sent to McDonald’s and their later reply) and the short stories. The first series A Zombie Story just recently finished while the 2nd round CHUD is just taking off.

There’s way more to find at the awesome man’s burden and my drunken friend is always coming up with new bits to keep us entertained. Sporting a super classy url (http://andthatwasthemostieverthrewup.wordpress.com)  I highly recommend bookmarking the awesome man’s burden. It’ll keep you laughing.

Birchwood Falls – I used to be involved in Play By Email RPGs (PBEM RULES!) when I was in middle school/high school. My friend Storm expressed wanting some kind of creative writing outlet and PBEM was the first thing I thought of! But alas, research has revealed that the medium is all but dead.

Using some of her own fabulous ingenuity, Storm developed Birchwood Falls – a fictional town with fabulous people living their lives. Written by about half a dozen of us, it’s just getting started. If you’re interested in creative writing and want to join in with a group, we’re always looking for new residents. Rules are still being established, so come help be a part of our community’s development!

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David Seah’s Emergent Task Planner

January 14, 2010 Leave a comment
For a while now I’ve been using products by a guy named David Seah.  I really like his stuff and I’m starting to think it’s because he as a similar thought process to my own.  If you become a regular user of his products or a regular reader of his blog the first thing you’ll notice is that Seah is not afraid of revision – in fact he welcomes it.  He’s always tinkering with existing products and coming up with new ideas to share with his readers.  I am constantly wanting to change and refine how how I do things so it’s really refreshing to find another tinkerer.  I think my “change things up” habbits drive my coworkers nuts.  I’ve started to notice a look that seems to say “okay, what did Megan change this week?” whenever someone has to cover the desk for me.  Nice to know I’m keeping everyone on their toes.

Anyway, I’ve been consistently using some of Seah’s products for a while now.  The one I use the most often is the Emergent Task Planner which you can buy from amazon.com or download free from Seah’s website.

 The Emergent Task Planner uses a single 8.5 x 11 inch piece of paper to plan your day and is part of Seah’s Printable CEO Series.  On each ETP page you get a 14 hour schedule running along one side of the page,  spaces to list 9 tasks to complete, a grouping of bubbles to help you track how long each task takes (each bubble represents a 15 minute increment and you get to color it in!)  and a section for notes.

The 14-hour schedule is something that Seah has been fiddling with for a couple of years.  The first iteration of the ETP had the schedule along the left side of the page, but then he moved it to the right.  For the 2010 updates, he’s moved it back to the left – which is where I prefer it.  Since its inception in 2005 the ETP has been finely tuned with Seah’s little tweaks.  He’s cleaned up the header, and refined the language and found a way to make everything fit on the page while still leaving you enough of a margin so that you can use a hole punch.  It’s a great design and as a tool I feel like it just plain works.

What’s also great about the ETP is its flexibility.  From reading Seah’s own instructions, the comments on his posts and a couple reviews it’s clear that everyone uses the ETP a little bit differently.  Here’s an example of what one of mine might look like at the end of the day:

I fill in my form kind of organically – how it looks at the end of the day depends on how my name goes.  I start by filling in the things that I have to do every day – my regular morning tasks, giving my coworker her break twice a day, my 1 p.m. lunch break, my daily clean up time, etc.  Then I’ll go through the major tasks list and write down everything I want to get done for the day.  I use Seah’s suggestion of adding a vertiical line among the bubbles to estimate how long I think each task will take.  During the day when I’m filling in my bubbles I’m always interested to see how close to that line my bubbles are.  Sometimes my guess is spot on, sometimes I way underestimate while other times I way overestimate.  When I finally get my weekly and monthly review habit down, this will really come in handy.  I’ll be able to see where my time is going and to plan better for the future.

I tend to use the notes section for a number of different things.  Sometimes I use it as a list of things that I’ve actually completed, sometimes I leave myself notes to review later like “I need more time for X task” or “I forgot to do X”.  I also like to leave myself notes about the flow of the day.  I’ll make myself notes if I have a conversation with a co-worker or if I feel like I’ve been spending forever answering the phone.   If a task ends up taking way longer than I anticipated these notes help me figure out if it was because I was just having a high traffic day or if I ran into some kind of challenge with a particular item.  Other times I do some journaling or doodling.  It just really depends on my mood.

When I started using the ETP last July I was using the free template.  This year I decided to buy myself a Christmas/New Years gift and actualy bought them from amazon.com.  I gotta say, it’s totally worth the price.  I absolutely love the quality of paper – it’s a more heavy duty than printer paper and my pen just glides over it (like silk!).  The for sale version is also a little more colorful – each page is printed with vibrant blue and orange.  The free versions are either solid blue, solid green or black and white.  If you’re pinching pennies the printed versions certainly get the job done (and does it well!).  Seah’s put that little bit extra into the purchase version to make it a nice step up in quality. If you shell out the $12.50 for a pad you won’t be dissapointed.

Seah has a variety of different planner pages, the Emergent Task Planner doesn’t even scratch the surface.  For now I’m not really using them too often, but I have been known to pull out the Daily Grid Balancer.  I have an idea to incorporate it into my weekly review.  Once I’ve been more consistent about that I’ll make sure to throw up another blog post.  In the mean time, do yourself a favor and check out davidseah.com.  If you’re looking for something unique, well designed and fresh to help you track your productivity, you’re sure to find something to tickle your fancy.
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The Flurry

January 13, 2010 Leave a comment

Right now I’m smack dab in the middle of what I like to call “The Flurry”.  It’s that massive amount of activity that happens at any university right before the semester begins.  Being in the position I’m in at work that means I’m probably one of the busiest people.

I’ve been at my job for about 2 and a half years and you’d think that I would have the hang of this by now.  Since we work on a semester system, this marks my 6th semester trying to get ready for the first day of class and yet here I am feeling like I’m swimming.  Amid all the activity at my desk I find myself getting into arguments with the little people who live in my brain.  “Why didn’t you start this earlier?”   “Why didn’t you anticipate x happening?  it’s happened every semester you’ve been here” etc.  So I’m forcing myself to write these things down and start to plan for next semester now, while I’m in the thick of it feeling sorry for myself.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from all of this – you can never start planning too early.  Really, I should be prepping for the next semester all the time.  This is just one of those work challenges I’m learning to deal with.  Unfortunately, I learn the big lessons very slowly.  Which is both a good and a bad thing.

So, this post was really about just dumping my brain in a more public place.  I’m going to go play with my dog now.  Because I’ve been working lat every night and I haven’t spent the time with her that I want.

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To Fill Some Space

January 7, 2010 1 comment

Well, I’m currently working on a review post that I really, REALLY want to get up, but it’s not quite ready yet.  I’ve decided that I just need to sit down and write whenever the mood strikes me, so that’s what that post is all about.  Something that got my mind working so now I’m writing about it.

I’m starting to come to the realization that I don’t post that often because I feel like I don’t get things done fast enough.  For example, when I was trying to write about movies, I was trying to write a post and get it loaded to the web all within one day.  If I didn’t get it done on one day, I didn’t think it was worth it to finish writing it.  So basically, if I started something and couldn’t finish it before I went to sleep it was a failure and therefore abandoned.  This is definitely a really good window into my life.  I like having ideas, I like implementing them but I have this thought process that it’s gotta get DONE DONE DONE!  NOW NOW NOW!!  Oh I didn’t finish it, well then it’s not worth the effort I already put into it.

This is how I write papers, clean the house, hang out with friends, etc.  I’m trying to teach myself to take things step by step.  I can’t write a good post in one sitting.  It’s just not going to happen.  In my heart of hearts, I really want to give something 3 sessions before it’s finished.  So I need to write a first draft, edit it and then polish it.  But at the same time, I know that I have to get everything done quickly before I get bored with the topic and move on.

Eventually I’d like to apply these thoughts to writing more regularly on the blog.  Since a week is 7 days I think a good goal is to write at least one post a week if not two.  That give me 2 days to draft, 2 days to edit and 2 days to polish every week and then one day to blow off.  I think I need that blow off day.

Actually, thinking about that blowoff day makes me wish that weekends were 3 days all the time.  2 days just isn’t enough.  I always blow off Saturday and then when Sunday rolls around I don’t want to do anything because I don’t want to squeeze my weekend chores into one day.  Anyone else out there want 3 day weekends to be permanent?  Man, that would be sweet.

So really, this post is about wanting to fill some space but it’s not my polished post either.  And my polished post really will go up (or Saturday because let’s face it, tomorrow is Friday and I have to work late on a Friday which really sucks) because I’m proud of it.  I think both of these posts are good first steps.  And I’m writing again.  Which is quite alright with me.

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So I’m Wasting Time

December 29, 2009 2 comments

Here I am at work on December 29th.  I’ve finished a big project and my email inbox is so slow I keep wondering if it’s working correctly.  This is the curse of someone in my position.  If I’m not constantly being bombarded by people needing me to do a Google search for them I wonder if there is something wrong with the world.  Today is one of those days when I am very cynical.  I believe this is due to the fact that Kingpotato is probably at home playing with the puppy while I am here at work wasting time.

It’s December 29th and I’m one of 6 people in the office.  For 2 hours this morning I was the only person in the front desk area.  It was amazing and I got things done.  Now I don’t want to get things done, I just want to waste time.

I opened up my Facebook and I begin reading through all the little things that my “friends” have to say.  Really, out of the 110 people who are my friends there are probably 10 that I really care to hear from.  I hate this Facebook phenomenon and I hate that I’ve been dragged into it – yet I can’t stop checking my feed.  I think this is a sign that I need to go back through and edit my friends list.

Recently a distant relative requested to be my friend on Facebook.  I said yes because he dropped a dead relative’s name.  Now I am subjected to the status updates of a 50 year old who doesn’t seem to have taken the best care of himself.    I am super glad that you took some narcotics last night and that you need to have your gall bladder checked out.  Especially since I have never met you, heard of you or laid eyes on even a photograph of you until 10 a.m. on December 22nd.  Although the narcotics intrigues me.  I wonder what you are taking and where I can get some.

Of course now that I’ve complained about someone from my friend list I can’t post a link of this blog post on Facebook and there goes half of my audience.  Real smart thinking me.

I think I will clean out my friends list now.

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Some Dreams

December 21, 2009 1 comment

I’m at work and didn’t get to finish what I was writing at home yesterday.  I am tired of the sad, sorry blank space so I thought I’d put up some plans for the coming days.

1. Discuss my thoughts on Brittany Murphy’s recent death (so sad).

2.  Get up my Avatar review

3.  Talk about some new blogs I’ve been reading

I think that’s it.  I would really like to get back into the habit of posting regularly.  If you read this, is there anything you’d like to see more/less of in the coming year?

Megan

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Packing

August 20, 2009 Leave a comment

The packing isn’t
Done, but oh so very close
Maybe one more day

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