(last edited on January 18, 2016 at 11:14 am)
A belated holiday greeting! I had a pretty good Christmas with family and friends, and in the days between now and the New Year I’ve got quite a few calendar updates to get out of the way, most notably the Compact Calendar, the Word Counting Calendar, and the ETP Almanac. These are all fairly involved updates that I try to get out of the way earlier in the year…oh well! I’ve let quite a lot of the stationery side of Dave Seah Enterprises coast this year because of the contract work, but I think 2016 I will have to make that more the focus.
Anyway, these updates are coming this week. I’m going to make some guesses as to “how much time” each will take:
Compact Calendar – Basically just updating the year in the Excel file and double-checking that my automatic holiday calculations work. That’s about 30 minutes. The time-consuming part is creating the PDF, which involves printing the Excel file as PDF, cleaning up all the awful output and repositioning it on a new document. Then, updating the package text and zip file, uploading, and changing any text. It’s about a 2-3 hours job there, I’m thinking, so I’m estimating 3 hours for the whole update.
Word Counting Calendar – This is a more involved update because I have to individually layout each month and calculate total words per week for every week of the year. I have a shell template that has the basic graphics elements in it, but it’s still fairly time consuming. Each year a handful of people download them for $7. It’s probably a solid 4-6 hours to do the update. Perhaps this year I’ll make it donationware and see if anything changes.
Emergent Task Planner Almanac – This is a major update that involves creating an XML file with all the holiday and dates, then customizing 365 pages twice. Mentally, it feels like a week of work, but it probably is more like 8 hours spread over two days. Last year I took steps to automate the process a little more.
I guess I should feel grateful that I have these tools at all and some income comes from them. For 2016 maybe I should think of some ways to make the update itself more fun instead of tedious. I’ll probably feel better once I get them put out there, of course!
For an example of how estimates and actual time doesn’t stack up, here’s the actual times!
Compact Calendar – I estimated 2-3 hours. Actual time 2.75 hours:
- 1.25 hours for finding the old Excel files, renaming them, making updates to the years, deciding to get rid of the Sunday-Friday version, add no-holiday worksheets, print and edit PDFs to size for A4 and Letter papers
- 1.00 hours to print a sample, photograph and process, import images and create zip files, update main listing.
- 0.25 hours to make a really brief post and upload it.
- 0.25 hours to post links to Twitter, Facebook, check zip archive integrity.
Emergent Task Planner Almanac – I estimated 8 hours. Actual time 5.5 hours.
- 1.00 hours to reread the notes from last year and produce the first major file using XML workflow
- 0.75 hours to generate remaining 7 major variants (had to also correct mistake)
- 0.25 hours to create blank PDFs from 8 major variants (16 totals)
- 0.25 hours to create updated e-shop graphics for Shopify and Gumroad from templates
- 0.50 hours to update product listings on all shops, quick testing of links
- 0.75 hours to update ETP Page links
- 2.00 hours to write blog post, prepare accompanying images
Word Counting Calendar – I estimated 4-6 hours. It took 6.25 hours of focused work in several sessions over 10 hours.
- 0.75 hours to find and update documentation to remember how I did it, update week count spreadsheet
- 1.25 hours to update all word counts for January, based on spreadsheet, and double-check
- 2.00 hours to do the same for February through December
- 1.00 hours to update all the prompt text, then export PDF
- 0.50 hours to proof calendar from hardcopy
- 0.75 hours to add to shopify store, gumroad, tweet and facebook, and write blog post