2017 Process & Procedure Discoveries Yielding a Bountiful Harvest
Year 2017 gifted several discoveries, each emerging as vital to my self-management and growth. Specific processes and procedures conspired, with resulting enhanced consistent productivity.
1️⃣ The 5-Whys Technique
Few new-to-me processes packed the punch of the 5-Whys technique. Rather than settling for an obvious answer produced by a single why, I’ve learned to dig, and keep digging. Whether muddling my way past a spirit-crushing disappointment, or maintaining overall peace within my circle, the 5-Whys continue to serve well, earning its number one spot on this 2017 year-end list. (Mid-2018? Yeppie, still goin’ strong)
2️⃣ My Bullet Journal’s Dual TimeBlocking
My weekday dual time blocks —The Plan vs The Reality— constitute accountability, on steroids. Tedium (e.g. migrating tasks) disappeared, as did the mind slaps propelled by tortuously long todo lists. This routine soon found its way into rarified air: my top three productivity gems.
3️⃣ My Bullet Journal’s Daily Log
Joining dual time blocking, the Daily Log of my Bullet Journal killed stress of the everyday variety. Didcha do?? no longer interrupts my sleep. I KNOW every worthy thought lives in ONLY ONE location. Among my wisest decisions: using the incredibly portable Hobonichi Weeks as my Daily Log (and hardlandscape events) receptacle. It parks in my back jeans pocket, guaranteeing consistent input and hence, earned faith in the über reliability of my system.
4️⃣ Forest Therapy
As an avid bird photographer, I’ve long appreciated the intense relaxation induced by a joyful obsession. However, it didn’t occur to me that surrounding myself with Nature, sans camera, could inspire equally intense spiritual satisfaction. Once realized, parks morphed into Pam’s churches. The peace instilled by forest therapy beats any pill from the pharmacy, each and every time. Since I do not, and will not, deal with organized religion,1 I remain supremely thankful for this particular discovery!
5️⃣ Automated Social Media Tracking
Independent work actuates the need to indulge social media, the mutha of all rabbit holes. Accountability prompted my embrace of IFTTT, a service living to arrange shotgun marriages between two apps. The serial applets I created ensure every public post auto-copies to an associated calendar, e.g. Facebook → SM.FB, Reddit → SM.Reddit, WordPress → SM.Blog, Twitter → SM.Twitter. Bonus: a few weeks ago, Google finally joined iOS in permitting calendar selection per applet. Woot!
Speaking of Twitter, many of my tweets emanate from a dedicated Google Calendar where I schedule the posting date and time with content. IFTTT then grabs any item within that cal marked ScheduledTweet, and tweets within the surrounding 15-20 minute timeframe. Three huge bonuses:
- A split-second CalenGoo (app) search through that lone calendar precludes inadvertent duplicate posts.
- CalenGoo reduces steps via its easy-to-setup template system. (All I enter: the content. The chosen template adds all else.)
- Tweet confirmation (courtesy of another applet) appears within a similar Twitter-focused cal
- One glance through my cal informs when I next need to feed the Twitter stash. At this writing (Dec. 19th), my 4:30a-ish #5amWritersClub tweets will process through mid-January. The slow period of the holiday week will permit additional feedings, likely taking me into March.
Among my additional calendar-feeding applets:
- daily weather report
- daily writing prompt.
- Google Drive → EverNote: gives me a running list of all saved files, including linked folder. Reviewing a list beats the skleeboop outta rifling through folders or searching for files by date.
6️⃣ PrintFriendly Bookmarklet
This PDF-creation bookmarklet strolled up to Safari browser in late 2016. But I didn’t use it consistently until the then-new year settled in. Combined with searchable Google Drive, this treasure admirably addresses my save-webpage needs. Removing all extraneous elements, the resulting clean text welcomes annotation (with iOS PDF Expert). This tool, now gracing every browser I use, reduced my premium EverNote subscription to a mere free receptacle for IFTTT-generated feedings.
2017 Goodies (Still! 🤗) Rockin’ the Productivity Vibe
7️⃣ The Jibun Techo Family of Japanese Planner Products
Like most, my initial introduction to Japanese planners involved Hobonichi products. The A6 Hobonichi Techo eased back out the door within a week of its arrival. The A5 Cousin Avec lasted several months. 2 issues: its EDC-allergic sizing, and my non-use of the Daily section. I searched for a more portable friend, Bumping into the kinda-B6 Weeks. By the time October rolled around, the 2017 Jibun replaced the Cousin for my annual BuJo book(s) order.
From the day of its arrival, the A5 Slim Jibun Techo Standard shouted satisfaction. The INCLUDED cover held the INCLUDED 3 books: planner, Idea (blank grid) booklet, and Life booklet. Yet, the trio’s joint profile personified thinness, a hallmark of the diary and Idea’s Tomoe River paper.
Throughout the lion’s share of 2017, my Hobonichi Weeks played joined at my hip sidekick to the Jibun Techo. The duo extended its range into 2018. I was so pleased, the A5 Jibun’s little sibling —the B6 Slim Biz Mini— soon crossed my threshold. Adding a mere inch to the width of the Weeks, the Biz Mini coaxes frequent smiles.
About the Paper
The Standard Jibun presents Tomoe River paper; the Biz variants, MIO paper. A cult-like embrace of Tomoe River paper permeates the planner community. I’m not a fan as regards the Standard’s implementation. While I appreciate the über thin profile Tomoe River paper provides, I despise its ghosting and “watch ink dry” tendencies. I rush to add —neither foible is as prominent in Hobonichi products. I may be wrong, but I suspect coating of the Jibun’s Tomoe River paper may explain the difference.
The MIO paper found in the Biz and companion Life booklet offers high quality paper with no downside. A bit toothier than its Tomoe River cousin, the MIO provides a glorious writing experience. The Biz model also appears calmer than the Standard, with its monochromatic print (unlike the colorful Standard) and heavier fonts.
8️⃣ 0.3 mm Pilot Juice Up Gel Pen
The Biz Mini’s small-grid (about 3mm) craves thin lines. I thought I had the answer in the 0.20 mm Pigma Micron 005, Hobonichi MultiPen (0.5 mm technically, but writes surprisingly thin lines), and Pilot 0.38 mm Juice gel pens.
Many enjoy fountain pens as bullet journaling tools. I coughed up that ghost. Nothing beats the ease, speed, and just-do-it qualities of a retractable gel or rollerball pen for capturing a thought. My Vanishing Point’s Fine and italic nibs continue to delight, but their more frequent ink refill requisites relegate the pen to journaling-only mode. Ditto re the legion of others in my collection. The exception: Pilot Preppy’s (.03 mm) rainbow of fountain pens. Reason: writes even after prolonged storage, with long-lasting ink (using a converter rather than supplied cartridge).
The black and blue Juice Up pens blow my mind, gliding across the page like a pencil while laying down hyper-fine needlepoint-style lines. The needlepoint/ conical hybrid tip eliminates Micron fraying problems; never ghosts; and plays well with every highlighter tossed in its direction. (The other colors? Ok in a pinch, but I prefer their Juice 0.38 mm siblings.)
9️⃣ Apps: A Year withOUT a New Discovery —a Thrilling First!
I don’t know what’s new in the App Store because I stopped looking. Digital lunacy led me to a bullet journal, killing app scrounging hunts. Several factors solidified that change, including:
- Apple’s determination to mimic the reliability of Windows Vista;
- my conclusion: like innovation, quality control left the Apple building with Steve; and,
- the steady march of developers toward the SaaS model (TextExpander???! PuhLeeeease! 😂🤣).
Once upon a time, I stood in line for the latest iPhone. Today, I continue to rock version 6+. Yesteryear, I’d race to install the latest OS. Today, iOS 10.x continues powering my iPhone and iPad. Perhaps by iOS 15, Apple will kill the ridiculous glitches rolled out to date —withOUT substituting grrrr inducers.
Apple retrained me, as did its developers. These days, none enjoy good will. I demand proof of enhanced functionality withOUT showstoppers prior to downloading updates. I assume $$ paid today may be tossed, courtesy of a developer’s sudden SaaS embrace. And I refuse to upgrade hardware despite manipulative tactics, e.g. Apple’s admitted slow down of older devices — for the <cough>customer’s good</cough>. Apple, me no likey sneaks. Your prior silence, until busted with 🎵can’t-touch-this🎵 evidence, tells me all I need to know.
🔟 Planner Peace IS Attainable
As deficiencies in my bullet journal smack me, I apply curative tweaks. None of that alters the reality of genuine planner peace, courtesy of the Japanese planners serving my bullet journal needs. They remain poised to continue fueling my productivity for years to come.
- Don’t misread these words. A blatant refusal to interact with organized religion in no way suggests the absence of spirituality. For those who feel differently, great. I respect your choice. Respect mine. ↩