Story of the Day

Story of the Day

Story of the Day Ok, so The Printable CEO™ VI: Menu of the Day is completely NOT DOING IT for me. I’m glad I released it, but like its ordinal compatriot Star Trek VI, MotD has failed to live up to my expectations. It’s just not fun and useful enough, though it does look cool in places :-)

Not all is lost, though! The very act of putting myself through the process has given me an insight: the act of writing down what I was going to do is really the primary impetus behind a productive work day!

I know, I know, big duh! But I think getting to the point of tricking yourself into doing the writing is the ESSENTIAL SCAFFOLDING I have been looking for. So, what’s a fun way of doing that?

Well, I like writing stories! Hmm!

Storytelling has been on my mind a lot lately. I had also started writing a series that I called Storytelling By Design, trying to figure out the link between stories and business.The reason stories are on my mind? I think they’re what drives me as a designer. In other words, I think that design is a way to make stories, and that BEST design results in the BEST stories. In the retelling of our favorite stories, we are both inspired and educated; we also learn methodologies that can have a positive effect on our lives…empowering!

So the next form or tool, I believe, will provide scaffolding for creating that “opening story of the day”. If we can teach people how to write a good story for themselves in the context of their work, maybe that’s all the motivation that’s needed.


I updated the picture to be more fun and story-like…the old one was kind of a stretch!


  1. Eric 17 years ago

    I like the illustration – I was excited, thinking you were releasing some sort of form with a bullseye on it! Oh well…

    I had two comments on the Daily Menu:
    -I’m pretty confused about when the process related points get dealt out. (when does it clarify a decision?  how much time, thought, or effort must it save before getting me points?)  I’m also worried that putting the CEO tasks and the HR tasks together allows you to choose which you want to work on.  I think that being lopsided in either direction would be detrimental, but focusing on the HR tasks over actual work would be really bad.  What you really want to do is to create the processes and then USE them.  It’s good to reward yourself for creating (and especially documenting) processes, but more important to actually use the process to get things done. Here’s an idea I had: Maintain a list of processes. When you create your list of tasks for the day, note whether each task can be completed by using a process (and collect a bonus point, if it can!).  At the end of the day (or week), set aside a small amount of time to review the “daily menus” from the day (or week).  For each task not associated with a process, determine whether it can be turned into a process.

    -I like the idea of scheduling out how much time each task will take. (I like it a lot!)  Estimating how much time a project will take is one of the hardest things for me, and sticking to this type of system would definitely brush up those skills.  A small part of my brain asks “Why would I ever schedule an A-sized task when I can get 10 bonus points for breaking that task into smaller chunks, and completing three of them.”  If anything, I think you should get more bonus points for maintaining focus for a full four hours!  I guess it all comes down to the question of the correct granularity of tasks.  More points for larger tasks, but more imporantly: more points for estimating time accurately!  Perhaps some sort of “game” where you bet on how long each task will take, and you get fewer points if your estimate was over or under the correct amount.


  2. karen from georgia 17 years ago

    A story to me is a project plan in words – beginning, middle, end.  It’s a lot of what I do, put into words.  I remember high school freshman literature, when they talked about the 5 elements of short stories:  plot, theme, character development, etc. so sometimes one element is emphasized in the story than another.
      An important thing about story is that it can have elements of a myth to it, where people add their own ‘stuff’ to the story.  Think of the Peterman catalog, where once they showed you one item fitting in the rugged outdoors, you spent the rest of the catalog feeling like you were (on the Sahara, in the Appalachians, back in Boy Scout Camp, touring the Amazon).  Or, marketing a dress with a collar style from the 60’s, it takes women into their own stories.  A story can be so much more engaging as a presentation than something else.
    It may depend on your audience, though.  We have folks at work to whom words are just confusion – give them numbers, pictures.
    Good luck with your stories.

  3. JIm Rait 17 years ago

    Cliff Atkinson’s site about “Beyond Bulletpoints” is about how to make great stories into presentations.. the makeover section under discussions discussions is very enlightening on stories by design.

  4. Alvin 17 years ago

    Hey Dave, I loved Star Trek VI! :P

    You know, the first thing I thought when I read about the series on Storytelling by Design was…book!

    That seems to be your strength: taking parts of a whole, synthesizing them together in a coherent form, making meaning out of it and making it easy to use and understand to someone else. Erm, I hope I expressed that clearly.

    Creating systems? Meaning out of systems? Making stories?

  5. Senia 17 years ago

    Hahaha!  Alvin beat me to the punch!  Almost.  He said, “storytelling by design” makes him think that you should write a book about it!

    As for me, “storytelling for business”… I think you should host a panel about this at SXSW!!!


  6. Dave Seah 17 years ago


    Heh, glad you liked the original illustration! I’ll have to think of some way to make a bullseye form. Wonder what it could be? Maybe a mashup of “battleship” and “productivity”? Productivity Bingo? :-D

    That’s interesting you thought of process as HR-related…I’m thinking it’s more operations. The reason why I weighted DOING the process lower is exactly for the reason you said: you’ll be doing it a lot, so it will be a major contributor to points. Ideally, the more processes you use daily, the more small points accumulate. In other words, you’ll make up the points in volume, not gross per-item pointage :-)

    When Process Clarifies a Decision: I was trying to think of a short way of expressing a more complex chain of thoughts. I mean that when the process ITSELF is the answer, or makes the decision for you, or helps you come to a decision by providing data, that’s worth points. That means it’s a useful/good/insight-generating process.

    With regards to favoring one or the other, remember that doing ANY of those things is GOOD. The value in the point list doesn’t come from balance, but from just doing those things. For example, say you have two clients A and B. You get most of your income from A, and only a few bucks from B. However, A+B is a good chunk of change. From a “risk management” perspective, this is not a good situation to be in. From a pure cash perspective, though, you’ve got your chunk of change, and having cash is good.

    Extending this further, let’s say that instead of cash, clients A and B pays you in ASSETS that give you $100 bucks every month. Client A still gives you the bulk of the work, and so you derive your income mostly from them, but since you’re getting paid in assets that GIVE YOU INCOME, what really matters is acquiring a lot of them, so you can kick back and let them do the work for you.

    This is the scenario that the two lists are addressing. Balance between them isn’t important. Generating useful process and useful things that will CONTINUE TO PAY YOU IN THE FUTURE in some way—-by saving time, by catching the attention of a prospect, by training people you work with, etc—-is important. If you award yourselves the points, then you are really marking that you’ve gained an asset (or have verified the use of one).

    I do like the idea you have about review too…if you try it, report back and let us know how it went!

    The game idea is interesting too…optimizing for maximum pointage! I’ve been playing more board games lately, of the specialty market ilk, and have been amazed at what kind of games people are putting together…I was thinking of adapting some of the methodology to a productivity tool.

    One caveat is that I’d want to make sure that the game aspect doesn’t overshadow the actual “getting things done” work, but in this case it sounds like we’re talking about how to tune the incentive in just the right way. THis is probably quite personal, but I haven’t really thought about it.

    Thanks for the great comment, dude!

  7. Dave Seah 17 years ago

    Karen: “story to me is a project plan in words – beginning, middle, end. It’s a lot of what I do, put into words. ” That’s AWESOME! I will have to quote you :-)  What you’re talking about with reaching people is something that’s been on my mind a lot lately too; it reminds me a bit of Howard Gardner’s early theory of multiple intelligences too, and how it might be applied to design. Just knowing how people perceive things is useful. Also, the Myers-Brigg Type Indicator is a good source to consider, I think, understanding how different people process the world. In an interesting case of full-circleness, the MBTI originally was conceived as a way to create personality character types for FICTION, and it evolved into the “instrument” it is today. It has some basis in Jungian personality theory (which I think has fallen out of favor), but otherwise it’s empirical!

  8. Dave Seah 17 years ago

    Jim: Thanks for the link! I put it on my wishlist! I like presentations as the opportunity to put on a SHOW…that’s the way they should be :-)

    Alvin: “taking parts of a whole, synthesizing them together in a coherent form, making meaning out of it and making it easy to use and understand to someone else. Erm, I hope I expressed that clearly.” Wow, much more clearly than I ever could! THANKS! I’m totally stealing that :-D Re: STVI—-actually, I just realized I was thinking of the one AFTER that…I get the numbers confused. Or maybe I just hated the floating CG blood in the beginning of it.

    Senia: Ooo, panel! I’m thinking the natural order would be (1) write book then (2) host something. Unless it was an informal get-together. Maybe that’s what I should do!

  9. Cindy 17 years ago

    I’ve been subscribing to screenwriting blogs because I think that story and productivity are definitely linked.  I don’t intend to write a screenplay.  I intend to star in my own life story.  The elements of a good screenplay ought to apply to my work, my parenting, my life. If I can keep the plot moving, be aware that conflict is just what life is (no conflict, no story), and remember that I WILL have my subplots that DO resolve… If I can be the protagonist and do the things we want the protagonist to do, fight the battles we want her to fight… Someone else may want to make the movie.  At least it will be fun to watch it pass before my eyes on that fateful day!

    Been trying the Flash Emergent Task Timer.  It works well with my short attention span, right brain way of doing things.  THANKS!