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TWSBI medium notebook with Franklin Christoph Model 02 (click to enlarge)

TWSBI notebook review: superb paper, questionable construction

After I went down the fountain pen rabbit hole, I quickly realised it was time to find a better notebook. I’d used Moleskine notebooks for years, but the paper isn’t exactly fountain pen friendly. This post details my experience with the medium-sized TWSBI notebook1 as a potential replacement. Pros 240 pages of off-white paper that works beautifully with fountain pens. A well-presented softcover notebook that lays flat. Concerns Flimsy elastic closure strap. Binding was shoddy on this particular notebook. No hardcover option. Appearance and first impressions The notebooks have a soft, black, leatherette cover stamped front and back with the...

Roadmap Planner banner

Roadmap Planner v2 introduces iOS app, syncing and new features

Things can change quickly with software. A few weeks back I reviewed Roadmap Planner from KeepSolid. They’ve been hard at work and have just released: Roadmap Planner v2; Roadmap Planner for iOS; a sync service; and a new business model. Roadmap Planner for macOS New features Roadmap Planner v2 fills several gaps I discussed in my earlier review. The export function has taken a big step forward. Version 2 adds JPG and PNG export to version 1’s PDF format. Exporting is more flexible. You can selectively export project bands and nominate a date range if you don’t need the entire...

Using GTD contexts to navigate the creative process

4 GTD contexts to navigate the creative process

As I wrote about applying Ben Elijah’s model to replace my @computer GTD context, I noticed an interesting pattern. Creative1 projects follow a predictable trajectory through the four creativity-related contexts. It’s not always a perfect mapping — simple projects may skip stages. In general, projects unfold in a consistent way. It doesn’t seem to matter what kind of work it is either. Creating a blog post, a diagram, a cost model, developing a software application, and building a guitar amplifier all follow a similar path. 1. Open:Shallow Projects of any reasonable size begin in the open:shallow quadrant. The point of this phase is...

Roadmap Planner: project schedules don't have to be ugly

Roadmap Planner review: project schedules don’t have to be ugly

My day job involves taking the ideas of visionary leaders and turning them into reality. Gantt charts are one of the tools I use to coordinate all the moving parts. As a communication device, a Gantt chart showing the entire project is terrible. Stakeholders will either slip into a catatonic state for the rest of the discussion or suddenly remember they have another meeting to attend. Most stakeholders want to know that someone has thought about all the tasks and interdependencies but have little interest in the detail. Showing the major phases and a few key activities is all you...

Mind map (photo credit: Pietro Zanarini via flickr cc)

How to plan better with mind maps

“Mind maps — what a load of New Age nonsense.” That was my harsh (and incorrect) assessment the first time I encountered mind mapping. I was an outline guy and didn’t see any reason to change. The technique appeared on my radar often enough for me to accept that there might be something to it. Mind maps have since become an essential tool for planning projects and organizing my ideas. Mind maps start with a central idea. Sub-points and associations radiate from this main point. They are a more visual way of organising information and may employ color, imagery and spatial relationships. Mind mapping...

Find In OmniFocus Revisited

REVISITED: Quickly search everything in OmniFocus with one shortcut key

I’m clearly not the only one who has moments when I’m not sure where (or if) I stashed a task in OmniFocus. The original post generated more interest than I expected. It didn’t seem right that such a handy function should only be available to OmniFocus Pro users. OmniFocus Standard edition users can now join the party too. Edi’s comment on Kourosh Dini’s Using OmniFocus site steered me toward another way of solving the problem. This new approach doesn’t use a custom perspective, so it works in the OmniFocus Standard edition. I started using the custom perspective long before discovering...

Find in OmniFocus

Quickly search everything in OmniFocus with one shortcut key

Without a tool like OmniFocus, staying on top of my responsibilities would be tough. With hundreds of items active at any time, sometimes things get misplaced. “Haven’t I already created that project? What was I waiting on from David? What else do I need to discuss with him? Who did I lend that Pink Floyd CD to?” Questions like these dictate a comprehensive search before I can answer them. If I’m not exactly sure where I’ve filed a task, I search all remaining tasks instead of rummaging through multiple projects or contexts. This happens several times each day. The manual...

The Context Quandary: 6 ways to make @computer useful again

The context quandary: 6 ways to make @computer useful again

Contexts made perfect sense as I read Getting Things Done, but the experience didn’t live up to my expectations. For edge cases like @errands1 and @agendas, they were wonderful. For the bulk of my tasks, contexts added little value. That’s because the situations where I don’t have access to a computer and the internet are as rare as rocking-horse poo. With more than 80% of my tasks landing in the @computer context, it was next to useless as a filter. I experimented with various approaches to making the @computer context as effective as @errands. Let’s do a quick recap on...

Magic Keyboard and iPad

Hey Apple, the Magic Keyboard needs improvement!

If anyone can make a keyboard that works well with an iPad you’d expect Apple to be the company to pull it off. The Apple Magic Keyboard and iOS combination is more frustrating than magical. Apple hasn’t pulled a rabbit out of a hat, but they have made important functions disappear. Background I’ve struggled to do much writing lately. Other priorities have restricted the time I can put toward it. Much like exercise, writing is a high-inertia activity. It’s easy enough to sustain once you get going, but getting started is hard work. Sometimes a change of scenery is all...

photo credit: yomo 13 via flickr cc

Are you absolutely sure you’ve processed all your inboxes?

New systems can be wonderful for helping to manage our complex lives. But they can bring yet another channel for potentially relevant and meaningful input. The more inboxes you need to process, the more likely you’ll overlook one of them. The impact can range from inconsequential to disastrous depending on what you missed. David Allen has often said, “you can only feel good about what you’re not doing when you know what it is”. You can’t get a complete picture of your options if there is stuff1 lurking in an inbox that you’ve forgotten to process. Fortunately, this is easy...