Friday, May 30, 2008

How to craft your own time! Sort of.

So there I was: bored to death with the 8.5 x 11 calendar I had printed up only a few months ago. Those tiny boxes, mocking me with their tinyness. No wonder I never got everything done in a day- look how small those boxes were! Black and white, black and white, and the occasional colored ink. So...dull...
I longed for a great! big! wall calendar- something where I could see many months in advance, something colorful and fun. And I happened to have, if not technically the time, then at least many sheets of very large foam core, just sitting there...
I think you know by now what had to be done.
I broke out my ruler, pencil, calculator, and sharpies.
Here's how I did it:
First, I measured. (I do sometimes measure things, believe it or not, people close to me who may be amazed by this.) The sheets were 20" x 30"- 30" long breaks into 15 perfect 2" squares. I figured I needed 5 rows for a month. That makes 3 months to a sheet. And then 20" divided by seven turned into 2.85"...let's just say 2.75 and be generous with the weekend spots. Lines were made with the ruler.
Then, the fun part. I took different colored sharpies and traced over the ruler lines by hand to give it a softer, more human look. A different color for each month. Add days at the top, the top of the month, number your days, and voila! You're all set.
(Here is where I apologize for the crummy photos. What can I say, other than the light in my studio is actually not very photogenic. Oh well. Hop over to my Flickr stream to be able to see the photos up close and to see the extra notes I and other people will no doubt be adding.)

Now do it again, so you have more than three months to look at (if you wish). I made three of these things. It just seemed right.
Then, as previously mentioned in another blog post, my hammer went missing. Eventually I got tired of looking for it and tired of having this great! big! unfinished project lying around, so I just used the spine of a dictionary. Desperate times, and all that. I don't recommend this bit, as it really dinged up my poor dictionary.

And now, the more fun part- I used different colors of sharpies again to mark in stuff- red for when I'd be out of town/ doing a gig, orange for deadlines, purple for shows, etc. etc.
I should also have mentioned earlier that I have a very, very long to-do list. An epic Greek poem length to-do list. Naturally, things get lost in it, and it's hard to find what actually needs to be done on any given day.
(Maybe I should have also mentioned that earlier this year I was reading Getting Things Done by David Allen, and he's all like "only mark on your calendar what absolutely has to be done that day" and while this makes a decent amount of sense it also leaves me with a ginormous to-do list and oh yeah guess what I'm NOT GETTING AS MUCH DONE thank you so much Mr. Allen. That book just boggled my mind a little bit.)
Right. So. I converted my outrageous to-do list into post its. One for each thing that had to be done. And it just so happened that my desk has this nifty white board thing on the right hand side- perfect for attaching rows and rows of post its to. I use a highlighter to make the ones with due dates stand out. When I filled up the board, I put the rest (things with no specific due date) in a spiral bound notebook. Now, if I can just remember to update my board with them, it will be awesome.

And guess what else you can do with post its? Smack them right onto your brand new wall calendar! Tentative show date? Post it notes, baby. Something that has to be done three months from now but not actually on any particular day? Post it!

Pardon me while I do my evil-I-will-conquer-you-chaos laugh.
The weird thing is, making this calendar was actually really soothing. Drawing the year out like that made me feel like I had power over my own time. Hey, look at that- there's lots of time. Look at all those little boxes. Huh. Putting my to-dos on post its made me realize that there is, in fact, a limited amount of them. And while I don't expect to ever see the end of the to-do list, that's ok. That's the secret of to do lists- if you hit the end of them, it pretty much means you are dead. There will always be stuff to do. That's a good thing. Now, go play. All that stuff will still be there when you come back.
So, here is the part where I heartily encourage YOU to make your own sort of calendar. At the very least, it will give you the illusion of having mastery of your time...and that's just priceless! (And if you do, tell me about it! I want to see!)
Update! Go Go Kioko! posted this advice about time management- I thought it fit into today's post really nicely.


LoveMeKnot Creations said...

well now you made me all motivated LOL

esque said...

I'll have to try this! My pda is chockfull of stuff to do too, but I'd love to be able to have the whole year up on my wall full of post-its!

Jenny said...

This is awesome! I am all about the illusion of time mastery :) Maybe I'll fall for it and actually master it!

amybluestar said...

I too never use a ruler in real life. I think it's awesome that you did it! What a great accomplishment. You are my hero.

susarto said...

that's great!
i actually was paying someone once to help me organize my time because i am so useless at it.
now i don't pay her and i'm unorganized again! ha!

i do notice that if i make myself a list for the day i will actually do the stuff and find some strange joy in crossing the thing out!

i might try something like this...sounds like just what i'd need...only i don't have as much wall space ;)

thanks for blogging this :D


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