Happy 2015!

It’s a whole new year! I’m not sure how I really feel about that, but I do like the years that are evenly-divisible by 5.

To discover how I’m feeling, I’ve decided to keep a gratitude journal where I list one thing I’m grateful for every day and see what patterns develop before Groundhog Day Resolutions rolls around on February 2nd. Until then, I am not going to make any long-term plans for the year.

Some recent happenings:

  • My new standing desk is almost here; I had to send back the top because it had been damaged in shipping, and it might be another 4 weeks before I get a replacement. We will see.

  • Although my living room cafe plans had stalled, I had a pork chop party on the weekend after Christmas, and for the first time I could see how the space could work with actual people. This was very encouraging, so I am excited about getting the project moving again.

  • I picked up a copy of Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing on a whim, and found it unexpectedly delightful. I have been telling people that it reminds me of the movie Amelie in some ways, with Kondo as the protagonist, because of the personal narrative interwoven between each principle in the book. Kondo would probably be regarded as an odd kid, obsessive and principled, and that is the kind of thing that turns me on. Plus, I think the general principle of “keeping only those things that bring you joy” is a good one when combined with her uncompromising approach to achieving that state of material being. I’m looking forward to trying it.

  • The full-size Emergent Task Planner notebook project is still chugging away. I heard from the printer yesterday that the sample covers have finally come in, so I will probably have the mockups ready to evaluate this week or next. I’ll be sure to post pictures.

That’s about it! I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday! Let’s have a great 2015!

2015 Word Counting Calendar Available!

Word Tracking Calendar
Based on my Nanowrimo Calendar, the full-year version allows you to count the number of words you’re writing every month in a way that allows you to see how fast / how well you are doing.

If you’re writing a thesis or a novel, print this out on a nice color printer and stick it up somewhere to track your progress. You can buy the 12-month PDF at my Shopify store:

Did you know it takes 5 back-to-back episodes of Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me for me to update the 50K word counting calendar? I didn’t either!

2014 Resolutions Review 10: Final Review

Groundhog Day Resolutions December 12, 2014
With everything that’s going on at the end of the year, I forgot that today was RESOLUTION REVIEW DAY. There’s a good reason that 12/12 is the last review of the year…from today to February 2nd, it’s time to take a break from self-improvement and just make it through the holidays!

Again, I am presenting an abbreviated report this month, as I don’t have the patience to do a full-blown deconstruction of the month in the way I used to in years past. There’s a personal upside to this change: I no longer am feeling the need to do it, as I think I am more curious to see what happens next than figure out what went wrong.

More about that after the jump! Continue reading →

Post Mortem: Takeaways from the “Thing-a-Day” Challenge

It’s been almost two weeks since I wrapped-up the November Thing-a-Day Making Challenge of making “30 things” that were tangible and sharable, improved process, and/or helped me sell something I’d made before. I kept the threshold of success low so I wouldn’t freak myself out; I was happy if I carved out the time for myself, which I think is an important habit to cultivate if one wants to achieve personal growth.

I didn’t know what I would take away from the experiment, though I knew that I wanted to do something during the month of Nanowrimo. As expected, I enjoyed the process, and have come up with takeaways that will affect how I approach creative acts in the future. Continue reading →

Thing-a-Day 30: Backup the Backup

Storing Backups


The last day of the November 2014 THING-A-DAY challenge got away from me with the extended family visit, so I spent today doing the work I had wanted to do: start the big backup of my network-attached hard drive. The process of backing-up my data is worth talking about, because a lot of what I do is completely digital in nature. Creating a backup process that’s easy and covers all the bases is important; I’ve added a couple of new backup devices to help me do that.
Continue reading →

Thing-a-Day 28-29: ETP Almanac and Shop Updates

ETP Almanac Updates

With the holiday weekend family festivities, I’ve been forced to merge all the work for the past two days into one. First was the big ETP Almanac Update for 2015, followed by updating two online stores with collateral. It’s a big chunk of work, but thanks to some prep I did last year it wasn’t as time consuming as it could have been.
Continue reading →

Thing-a-Day 27: Turkey Dinner

Turkey Dinner

Today’s thing-a-day is Thanksgiving Dinner, which happened despite the power going out last night and threatening everything. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! :-)
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Thing-a-Day 26: TPT with DONE on the left

Flipped Version of TPT

Before the Emergent Task Planner, there was the Task Progress Tracker (or TPT). It was designed as a to-do list that measured effort; you would fill-in a bubble for every bit of time you spent so you could feel momentum. A regular to-do list item can be checked-off only when it’s done, which might be a long time coming.

I had a request yesterday about flipping the DONE boxes from the right-side to the left, which I thought was a great idea because it would be fast! I wasn’t sure what it would look like, but here it is!
Continue reading →

Thing-a-Day 25: Picking Colors and Textures for ETP Hardbound; Pork Shank

Covers and Possibilities

My printer left a message about the arrival of “sample cover material” for the hardbound covers of the upcoming full-size ETP notebook, which will be 8.8×11 inches of double-wirebound goodness. Originally, I had specified that I wanted a pebbled cover just like my beloved Cachet Classic Graph notebooks, but apparently there are other options
Continue reading →

Thing-a-Day 24: Thimble-full of Patience Card

Visualizing Low Reserves of Energy and Patience

Continuing the theme of low energy, I had an idea about taking a macro photograph of a thimble and putting some kind of cathartic wording around it. I went thimble shopping yesterday, busted out my 50mm macro lens, and took a picture with extremely shallow depth-of-field. Then I winged it.
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Thing-a-Day 23: Visualizing Perseverance Experimental Form

Visualizing uncertainty

This weekend I have been feeling extremely low on motivational energy. Possibly it’s because of the shorter days and me waking up later; this week I am going to switch to a “waking with the sun” schedule to maximize daylight exposure. But I suspect the problem, if there is one, is related to my ongoing struggle dealing with the tedium of doing mundane solitary tasks.

I spent a few hours at Starbucks thinking about how to represent the problem; this experimental “visualizing perseverance and uncertainty” form is the result.

Continue reading →

Thing-a-Day 22: Reviewing Shipping Methods

Shipping Method

Today’s thing-a-day is related to process improvement! I spent some time reviewing PayPal options for shipping products. The trigger to finally look into it was a friend who needed a simple solution to sell her books. The last time I used PayPal for fullfillment was for the first run of ETP pads in 2009, and I found the experience so tedious that I vowed to outsource everything as much as possible. It’s been five years, though, so I figured it was time to see if anything’s changed, and rethink my shipping strategies. Continue reading →