Virtual Terrain Maps I

Virtual Terrain Maps I

With the beginning of the new year, I’ve been busy trying to make headway on three fronts: self-promotion and horn-tooting (which I’ve always had difficulty doing), web development technology (a necessary evil), and developing the design businesses (both Agenceum and David Seah Design). It might sound like I’m being busy, but it never feels like I’m making real progress. That’s probably because I’ve been remiss in really tracking what I do on a daily basis. Of course, I’ve also stopped caring so much about logging real progress; for the past few weeks I’ve switched from an accountancy model to faith that it’ll all work out. While I’m waiting for that to kick in, though, I feel compelled to keep pushing on those three fronts.

The major challenge, I think, has been the lack of a central physical management “shrine”. The shrine is a place where I keep all my project to-dos and reminders of what I’ve been doing for what reason. The shrine, ideally, is a physical station with high visibility within the greater workplace. For example, a central team whiteboard is a good example of a shrine, because people can check up on it and remember what it was that they were doing for whom. I don’t really , and this problem is exacerbated by my tendency to work in multiple locations doing work that requires different mindsets. Sometimes I’m in “writer” mode (like right now), and I tend to be using the Netbook on the couch or sitting in the big purple chair at Starbucks with the MBP 17 (the extra width makes it a comfortable and stable typing platform when I sit down. I’d like to have some kind of physical map of the terrain, something that I can see constantly and experience with my actual senses. I have some ideas.

Since this is a “daily blather”, I’m going to stop here. This is a theme for this week, for future exploration.


  1. David Pohlmann 12 years ago

    Hi Dave

    Look forward to hearing your ideas. I use both ProWorkflow(business) and Tracks(personal) but in either case I need to be near a computer.


  2. Logan 12 years ago


    Right now, I’m carrying around a GTD/meta clipboard that just has my productivity stuff on it.

    Right now, it has tomorrow’s Emergent Task Planner on top. Under that is a file folder that has a weeks worth of ETP sheets, a compact calendar with upcoming work related events marked, and a list of my professional and personal priorities for the week.

    I’m still trying to figure out what the “right” set of documents is, but I think having them all together on the same clip board is a good way to keep the organized in a convenient to update way.

  3. Jason Abate 12 years ago

    I’m also interested to hear your thoughts on this.  This has been one of my challenges since shifting from full-time in-the-office work a few years ago.  I’ve tried a number of online and physical systems to support working in multiple physical locations with varying degrees of success, but none have matched the big whiteboard that I used to have in my office.

  4. Federico Figueredo 12 years ago

    “It might sound like I’m being busy, but it never feels like I’m making real progress. That’s probably because I’ve been remiss in really tracking what I do on a daily basis.”

    Somehow it feels excellent to know that someone is on the same boat on this one. Misery loves company and all I guess :) In any case, it’s given me a jolt of energy to do something about it.

    I do recommend that you try to track what you’re doing daily. I’ve found that simply recording the things that I’ve done in the day before bedtime (or whatever works for you) gives me an excellent view of what exactly has happened (to my time, energy and attention) and let’s me adjust mentally for the day to come.

    Looking forward to see how it goes with your projects. And, as always, good luck with the master plan.

  5. Dave Seah 12 years ago

    David Pohlmann: On a side note, I’m not familiar with either system, will have to check them out myself!

    Logan: Out of curiosity, what kind of clipboard are you using? Is it just a regular one?

    Jason: Yes, I miss the big whiteboard too.

    Federico: LOL, yah, a lot of us are all in the same boat. One thing you might try is to look at what you did for the day, then imagine how you’d react to it if it was someone ELSES list. We may read more effort into what other people do than we we do ourselves…I tend to assume other people are doing things much more interestingly than I.

  6. Federico Figueredo 12 years ago

    I like that idea. I have this bad irrational tendency of believing that I should be doing *everything* (as in all the stuff that I want to do should be getting done now) and doing so in the best way possible…

    Needless to say, it’s quite difficult to asses the results with such a broken subconscious measuring stick.

  7. Logan 12 years ago

    It’s a standard low-profile clipboard. The file folder seems to keep things well-enough organized and protected.

    I didn’t go for the “portable desk” kind or one of the portfolio ones because I wanted something that would take up as little space as possible in my bag.

  8. Frances 12 years ago

    Fredrico’s comments could have been mine ….

    Want to say that David Allen recommends the mind-dump and the list-making so that we can counter that little subconscious voice. I think he said that as long as everything is in our head, we will always feel unaccomplished, as we still are not done.

    I need to get better at writing down the non-income producing activities during the day and assigning them value. Research they are, but surfing would be the way my mind tags them. Business Support is a legit category, and a necessary one. My experience is that “running the biz” is 50% of hours worked.

  9. Federico Figueredo 12 years ago


    I’ve found out that one of the things that breaks the system (for me) is that I never put all the things that I feel are not “productive” in my system.

    Bear in mind, these are things that are in my mind and are pulling at my strings but because they seem unimportant or non-relevant I avoid them (though not on purpose.)