Mail Bag: A Collection of Productive Ideas

Mail Bag: A Collection of Productive Ideas

More catching up on the mail bag, featuring some correspondence I’ve had with three people earlier in the year. I haven’t used these products or ideas myself in great depth, but I think they are interesting enough to pass along.

A Structured Meeting Planner

Randy Rigg's Meeting PlannerReader Randy Riggs emailed me about a meeting planner he made based on the ideas of the Emergent Task Planner and the Day Grid Balancer graphics. He writes:

Took some of your ideas to build a meeting planner, styled much like the Emergent Task Planner. Working through the first field tests right now. Currently, I am experimenting with the Day Grid Balancer for week planning.

So when I see a meeting for the week during my Monday look-ahead, I fill out a Meeting Planner. Then, as the week progresses, I can add relevant things I want to bring up at the meeting.

I invited him to share it to see if it sparked any ideas from other readers. You can DOWNLOAD THE DRAFT PDF and leave a comment if you are so inclined.

Success != Happiness | Jay Uhdinger

Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy

Jay Uhdinger wrote in to tell me about some writing for his variation of Mindfulness-based Cognitive Theory (MBCT). From what I gather, it’s a psychological technique to recognize when you’re going down a certain undesirable chain of reasoning, stopping it, and then taking corrective action. He’s released several chapters of a free course he’s developing to help people develop. Each chapter has a video that explains the concepts, and citations of referenced works are included. It’s an interesting combination of cognitive science with practical tips on learning how to be mindful. Check it out on his Success Does Not Equal Happiness page.

Nicholas Bate - Strategic Change Agent

The Works of Nicholas Bate

Many years ago when I was getting my feet wet with this blogging thing, UK-based Nicholas Bate sent me a sampling of his beautifully-designed books as inspiration. While one could technically group his work into the “self-help” category, that label has associations with books that dress up common wisdom with new clothes, buoyed toward credibility by supportive anecdotes that were obviously hand-selected. That’s not what Bates does. Covering a range of topics from personal change through productivity to business, I find Bate’s works to be clearly written, intelligent, and highly approachable. The book design is balanced and quietly bold, which creates in me both delight and a touch of jealousy. It’s quality work!

I recently got an email from him to inform me that his latest book, Do What You Want: The Book That Shows You How to Create a Career You’ll Love, is now available. It occurs to me that if I wasn’t so stubborn about learning things the hard way, I could save myself a lot of time just by going through Nicholas’ back catalog, and so I’ve made a mental note to review his books in greater depth at some point in the future.


  1. Will Hopkins 12 years ago

    Neat contributions! I’ve been looking for meeting planner myself, so this might be what I need. I’ll give it a try and volunteer some feedback.

  2. Laurel 12 years ago

    I’m really enjoying Jay Uhdinger’s video course, even though I thought I was pretty familiar with mindfulness and cognitive behavioral concepts. I think I’m going to be using the material a lot. Thank you for the link, and many thanks to Jay for putting his courses out there for free!

  3. Nancy 12 years ago

    I ran across your website yesterday. It is one of the very few truly inspiring sites out there. I have been reading it for hours (2 days in a row). This is one of the extremely rare times in my life that I have ever posted a website response. Your material is moving and I am compelled to tell you that-along with rest of your followers! I plan to try out all of your tools. All of your ideas are very relatable.

    YOU ARE making a real difference just by sharing great info and tools that make peoples’ lives better. I hope you will pat yourself on the back and smile after reading this. Mega points! The world needs more people like you! Please keep up the awesome work!

  4. Jennifer 12 years ago

    Comments on the meeting planner:

    In a meeting, being able to structure to time increments isn’t very realistic. Meetings bring together other opinions, viewpoints, etc for discussion – sticking to topics by time can hinder that.

    So suggetions:

    1) Remove the agenda time bubbles 2) Combine Agenda and Emerging Topics 3) Switch the agenda sections with participants to give more room for people. I lead meetings with 10 – 15 people regularly. 4) Add another space for discussion points

    Everything else is the bomb! If there’s a better resolution one, I’ll take it with me to my next IPT.

  5. Jennifer 12 years ago

    oops add another space (enter) for discussion lines for folks with larger handwriting.. that’s what I meant.

  6. Mark 12 years ago

    Randy Riggs? Are you out there someplace? Do you have any new updates to your meeting planner?