Status on Hiatus

Status on Hiatus

I’m still on blogging hiatus because I’ve been busy with a challenging year-long interactive project. This is an enforced hiatus, not a vacation, and it’s been driving me a little nuts. The plus side of my time away from writing: I’m learning a lot about relatively-modern video game development technology and authoring. The down side? I really miss writing and working on my own projects. However, this period of enforced time away from blogging has helped me see what I want to do more clearly.

Here’s what’s been on my mind.

creating mission statements

Over the past couple of months I’ve realized that I just like writing, and writing is a form of thoughtful expression. I’m quite obsessive about it; though I haven’t been writing here, I’ve been writing long emails and documents for projects. I’ve been writing more emails to my friends. I can’t help it. Ideally I would be able to convert this obsession into paying work, and it would be like getting free energy, but instead of jumping right to marketability I decided to start with a simpler expression of what I naturally do very well:

I write about that which catches my eye, relating the experience to what I know, sharing what inspires us.

That’s the fundamental mechanism, my primary tool, the way I always work. I believe that as long as I follow this and produce material, I’ll be on the right path. There are a number of ways to apply this mechanism, and clarifying those applications for next year will be part of my redefinition as a writer/designer/inventor. Although it might seem like a really dumb time to play around with my design services during a down economy, I think actually this will be a good differentiator because clarity sells, especially when the future looks particularly murky. Or so we shall see.

new work aspirations for 2009

I plan to do a lot more writing unrelated to the productivity and design work I do. Or rather, I should make it clear that my productivity and design work is inspired by everyday people. I’d like to meet and write about such people on a regular basis. This past year has been one of tremendous personal growth, and I’ve learned that I just like finding out what people are doing, where they came from, and where they want to go.

There are a number of forms and publications I want to get back to in 2009, along with the usual yearly form updates. I think 2009 will be the year I start putting together some more targeted use cases for the various Printable CEO and other forms. It seems like a natural evolution. I also am still planning on producing some more pre-printed forms; some Emergent Task Planner forms are still available, btw, if you visit the secret store page. I’ll probably bite the bullet and give Amazon Fulfillment a try this year after I do a second print run of pads. If there is another form that people would like to see produced, let me know!

I also plan on continuing to pursue the evolution of my freelance design process. This is a three-pronged approach:

  • Investigation : Essentially, an interview of the client to establish the “plot” of the project and the desired physical product. The result of this phase is a succinct description of the real project, goals, motivations, and expectations. It generally takes a couple of hours, and the deliverable is a 4-6 page report that identifies what I think the key issues are in a manner that can be used to create a design brief, project spec, or mission statement.

  • Innovation via Storytelling : Writing out the story and supporting players that will shape the desired physical product. One could easily plan out a dry production schedule with milestones and deliverables, but I would rather write a “product screenplay” that introduces plot twists, shifts of perspective, moments of anticipation, and life-affirming encounters to create an interesting overall experience for everyone.

  • Scientific Creative Method : I’m not a stylist designer, and I can’t pick colors or shapes based on how stylish or trendy they are. However, I can apply tangible design principles that I know have certain effects on people’s perceptions and emotions, and from that I can create a design that is functionally attractive while delivering the intended message.


p>In essence, the work I do has to connect with an individual in a meaningful way, so my emphasis is on clarifying and communicating that meaning throughout the process and with the product itself.

I’m still planning on developing the freelancer peer reviewed network; I did get several emails from people with their information, but I haven’t yet moved forward on this. However I did set up a freelancer network wiki page for development based on the principles I outlined.


  1. Katrina 14 years ago

    Hi Dave!

    I too am finding it difficult to write … on my blog … due to demands of my current large design project. 

    I am also thinking about some of these same issues.  I hope to provide an update to my site by the end of October on the status of my annual goals.  And I hope to address some of these larger concepts before the end of this year.

    Best of luck to you,

  2. Lynn O'Connor 14 years ago


    You may be on a blog vacation, but your work moves on. This year I have been teaching my graduate seminar the “Gettng Things Done methodology. I began the trimester (we are on that system, yuck) with my third year doctoral students, by giving each student a copy of “Getting Things Done” and having them read it in the first few weeks of school. Some of them loved it, some didn’t. At least they all have the opportunity to get with it.

    Yesterday I came to class with multiple copies of your forms, including the year’s compact calendar, and almost all of the specific forms. I passed them out explaining how they might use them, play with them, etc. I spent some time on the Emergent Task Planner, explaining how I have used it for a long time now (I showed them some of mine, for days long past) and described how after a week has passed, I throw them into a folder called ETP Archives. I recently saw someone’s blog suggesting that one keep a journal which is similar but without all the features. This blogger (I wish I could remember who it was) archives his “journal” (also a single piece of paper) into notebooks, by date. Voila, my archive of ETPs will now get better organized, providing me wiht a record of what I was doing when.

    GTD may be the overall methodology, and PCEO is a series of tools whereby GTD easily comes to life. Now how cool is that!

    One thing I could not find was an up-to-date planner available in 3 week and 8 week format. As you know I still suck at planning even a week ahead, still need help with that. Unless I was missing those forms, they are gone. I hope you can put them back up, and furthermore, consider the problem of learning to plan at least by the week, three weeks, and 8 weeks.

    For me, writing is it also. I couldn’t keep up with the blog, I write to much to student groups, etc. Finding community is also “it.” I’m fooling around with twitter, its up all day and does provide some kind of community. But I can’t find you to follow. Matt Cornell is in my group, likewise Leo, some psychologists as well as productivity fellows, and I want you up there in my group. Lets get this working.

    Know that a new group of doctoral students found you last evening. It was a kick seeing their faces.


  3. Eric 14 years ago

    Keep up the hard work Dave!  It’ll be great to have you back when we can!