35/100 | Friday 18 December 2015

  • Now that I’m on a study break like most of us, it’s time to get stuck into Japanese more consistently, particularly kanji combos!
  • Worked from home in the afternoon on minor website updates.
  • Furbaby walk and jog in the afternoon.

Edit: Japanese language resources

To maintain your method

When we adopt a method of productivity we have to form habits that can sustain it, be it GDT, bullet journal, ZTD, or any other method of tracking our lives we can find or come up with. Otherwise we’ll experience burnout in just a few days, or weeks. We’ll stumble across those days when you don’t really want to do anything, when you feel depressed and tired. Or simply one day you’ll forget reviewing your planner and the next day as well. And then suddenly you’re back to your messy non-organization. 

There are few tips that can help with this

  • Choose one moment of the day to do your checklist. Either first thing in the morning or last thing in the evening the night before. And with checklist I mean all those actions you have to perform to set your day up. for example mine is: check download folder and clean it up, check calendar (2 days in advance, 2 days before if I forgot something to do) check evernote and tag everything I collected yesterday, check my stuff dump where I collect vague ideas, check all the post-it I left around my house if I had written something to remember, check my email inbox and reply to those mail that need less than 2 minutes to handle, and then empty it, check my project list to see if any project need a new action to do and then write all I’ve collected in my lists. As a final thing I choose 3 to 5 MIT (Most Important Tasks) to do that day. But this is me, and I’ve changed it multiple times since the day I started following the method. Everyone should come up with their own specific checklist that suits their needs.
  • Form habits and rituals. Habit forming is actually really complicated and it can’t really be explained in a few sentences. But make an habit out of your checklist moment. Accompany it with something you already do every day, for example I do it in the morning the exact moment I start drinking my coffee and it became my breakfast ritual.  Set reminders, use the ‘don’t break the chain’ method, create some reward for yourself, or directly use apps to force you to follow through like and habitrpg (this one is specifically useful for those of us who are gamers, as it sets up your life as an rpg character to level up and every time you make an habit right you get points+coins and every time you miss an habit you loose life points). 
  • Sunday is for rest. Or any other day of the week you might choose. Please do not feel like you need to accomplish 2000 things every single day of the week or you’ll burnout soon. Choose a day a week when you allow yourself some rest from productivity. Be sure to make your checklist and checking everything and then avoid setting your daily tasks to do, because that day you REST. (unless your todo is something like ‘watch House of Cards’ or something like it)
  • Use a nice planner. I feel this is the most important one of them all. Find a planner that you LIKE taking out and using and writing into. A cheap and ugly one will inevitably make you fall out of love with it. Your planner will be your closest friend for the next few months and you want it to suit your tastes. Also: if you work a lot outside make sure it can fit in your purse. This applies to apps as well: choose one that have a nice interface!
  • find a pen you love to use. This is the same concept as before: use a nice pen and stick to it. it will become an habit in itself and it will feel more natural to start writing with it.
  • do not set it up too complicated to maintain in the long run. One of the things I see more on this website is the overcomplicated set-ups with 15 different pens and tons of washi tape and complicated coding. They end up being really pretty I’ll grant you that, but think about that day when you’ll feel down and you don’t want to do it AT ALL. Or that day when you’ll have to get up at 6 for some important thing you have to do and you only have 10 minutes to set up your work day. Make it pretty, but make sure you won’t need more than 15/20 minutes to set your day up. make sure you prepare for desperate moments and you can allow yourself being messy and fast once in a while or you’ll stop yourself from doing it. Those planners are there to help your life not hinder it.
  • set up alarms over alarms and more alarms. and more alarms. Or reminders, like post-its (even though those after a while become part of your room and you don’t notice them anymore). The first period I was doing this I had a popup that appeared every time I turned on my computer, and a phone alarm. Now I don’t need either because I can’t even start the day without going through all my checklist and my planner. 
  • do it even when you don’t want it, but do a ‘light version of it’. This is the secret that made me go for a really long time. If I feel extremely depressed and I’m so tired that I don’t even want to get up the bed I do my planner maintenance anyway and set up 3 tasks that are extremely easy to do. Usually it’s things such as ‘get dressed’ or ‘have a shower’ or ‘reply email client’. things I can actually accomplish even if I feel like shit.
  • do not use a color coding system TOO complicated. if you need to change your pen every 3 words it start becoming a really complicated system to maintain. Just choose really few areas, like ‘life, work, school’ or something like that. More than 3 or 4 and you’re in for extra complications. You might even forget about what your colors stood for.
  • do not fear changing the method to fit your need. If you see that one part of the method doesn’t work for you like it does for everyone else, just change that part. If some aspect hinders your productivity why keep it?
  • vacations are particularly delicate times for these kind of habits. if you use GTD make sure you bring with you your capture method so you’ll be able to check when you’re home all the things that came out of your mind that you need to do or accomplish. Set alarms for when you come back, set reminders everywhere so that the day after you come back you’re able to pick everything up from where you left it
  • if you use apps they should be able to synch with all your devices. yeah, it’s self explaining but it’s a real hassle when you have things to do and your app is on your computer and you’re at a friend’s house and you remember you had to do something on the road home but hell you can’t remember what it was. 
  • periodically re-read the instructions or the book where you first learnt about the method you adopted. After a few months things can start falling trough the cracks and you forget about important parts of it. Also re-reading and with months of experience behind you you can finally understand better which tips to follow and which to ignore.
How to Be Productive and Organized

I’ve always been interested in how to get stuff done. If you’re organized and working towards the things you think are important, you’re probably a happier person for it—and I prefer being happy over the alternatives. In addition, most of our jobs involves working with other people and no one likes to be the person who is constantly dropping the ball—and, trust me, no one likes that person either.

I’ve read pretty much every producitivity self-help book under sun, bought the corresponding expensive software, and tried to implement their “system.”

In my experience, they’re all worth it, but they’re also completely unnecessary. You can probably stay organized and on top of things with the notepad application on your phone and a sheet of copy paper in your back pocket.

  1. Do one thing at a time. Multitasking sucks; don’t do it.
  2. Write down everything. In productivity circles, this is called “ubiquitous capture”. Basically, your brain is for thinking, not for storing information. The second something pops into your head, write it down, record a voice memo, sketch a heiroglyph—whatever works for you.
  3. Have an inbox. Make sure you have a place for things that you need to deal with to go and hang out and until you get around to organizing them. Have as many inboxes as your need, but as few as you can get away with.
  4. Keep a list of big amorphous projects. Keep a list of all the projects going on in your life. Look at it every so often to make sure one of your projects isn’t getting moldy in the back of your refrigerator. Some examples: “write the Great American Novel”, “buy a house”, and “finish loose ends on the Henderson account.” These are not things you can just sit down and do, but they are also things you don’t want to fall off your radar. It’s probably fair to split this into long-term and short-term projects for the sake of your self-esteem.
  5. Keep a list of little doable tasks. This list is inspired by the point above. It’s the canonical to-do list we all know and love. It doesn’t matter how you organize this list. You can be as fancy as you’d like. Just make sure you’re not spending more time managing the things on your list than you are—you know—doing them.
  6. Keep an even shorter list of tasks you intend to do today. List out your three most important tasks for the day. Do them. Three is more than enough; don’t try to be a hero.
  7. Do the most odious, dreadful task first. Identify the thing you want to do the least and just get it out of the way. For me, this usually involves the telephone.
  8. Eliminate. Cut down of the amount of stuff you have to manage.
  9. Automate. Cut down of the amount of stuff you have to manage.
  10. Everything should have a place. But, try not to have too many places. I don’t think there is anything wrong with having an “everything box” that you search occasionally when you need something. Evernote is fine, but I just use the file system in Mac OS X.

Need this: Planners from Itoi’s company

This is going to be the year, right? This is going to be the year when you finally get your shit together, when you get your life organized and make a mark on this world. This is your breakout year.

All you need are some GTD tools to make it happen, you tell yourself. And it just so happens that Hobonichi, the Japanese company headed by Mother/Earthbound series creator Shigesato Itoi produces a popular planner, and it’s now available in English.

The Hobonichi Planners are like a combination schedule book, diary, notebook, and scrapbook, and they are filled with eclectic quotes and “fun items of interest about Japan and countries around the world.” And come December 31, you can pop the book on your shelf, and pick up the next year’s planner, creating a multi-volume chronicle of your life.

The planners run for around $29, but the fancy leather covers cost $168 – that’s how they get ya. Shipping will set you back another $14 to $17, too. There are also fancy limited edition covers on the Japanese site, and some of them even let you slip in a custom design like the official Mother 3 jacket.

Lindsay Nelson, who helped translate the English edition, has put up some handy instructions for the ordering process.

BUY Mother 3, Earthbound