How do you manage all the information in your life? For a busy person — and who isn’t these days? — it can be a challenge to find the right information management system. It may help to know that no system is perfect — each has its pros and cons — and you might end up using a combination of several tools to create a customized information management system that works best for you.
Professional organizer Julie Morgenstern advises choosing a single system — paper-based or electronic — for managing all your personal data (calendar, contacts, "to-do" list, notes, expenses, etc.) Time-tested paper-based systems include the venerable Filofax, FranklinCovey, Day-Timer, and my favorite (and best-looking, in my opinion) organizer pages, Day Runner. Desktop software applications include the robust ACT! contact management software, Microsoft OneNote and IBM Lotus Organizer. And, of course, there is a plethora of handheld devices and PDAs to choose from.
Because each medium has its own advantages, I use all of these in conjuction:
- Microsoft Outlook as my desktop PIM. I used to use Palm Desktop until the sheer volume of data I was managing unleashed some sort of glitch that crashed the application with increasing frequency. (Perhaps this bug has been fixed in subsequent versions.)
- A Palm PDA, with the data synched to Outlook, thanks to Chapura PocketMirror.
- A series of Excel spreadsheets to manage my business data, fitness record, reading list, wish list and generic weekly schedule.
- A good old-fashioned notebook and pen — although I haven’t graduated to the Hipster PDA yet.
While it may seem complicated to use all of these tools, all of my information is well organized, and if my desk isn’t already clear, it’s very easy to tidy up.
Other resources worth considering:
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Posted January 5, 2006 by Mariva in books, business, career, gadgets, innovations, resources
What a fun surprise it is to receive a beautiful or interesting piece of artwork in the mail; with mail art, the correspondence is the gallery.
I’ve been a mail art enthusiast ever since my first exchange of letters through the postal service. For the past several Januaries, I’ve taken the previous years’ wall calendars and transformed the pages into glossy, colorful envelopes using the simple templates from Haila Harvey’s The Envelope Mill. (Creative Correspondence by Michael & Judy Jacobs is an excellent mail art resource as well.)
Mail art doesn’t have to conform to a typical stationery-in-an-envelope letter. Here are some of the things I’ve successfully sent through the mail:
- clear plastic water bottles, emptied and dried, filled with colorful confetti or sand and tiny seashells and rolled-up messages
- pieces of a jigsaw puzzle, which when put together, displays a handwritten message
- giant postcards made from sturdy sheets of painted cardboard
- giant messages rolled up and mailed in poster tubes
- tiny messages mailed in Rx pill bottles
- messages mailed in empty candy boxes or tins
- catalog-size envelopes made from two wall calendar pages sewn together around the edges
- letters written on large pieces of fabric, sometimes meant to be worn as artful scarves
- collage art
- sticker art
- personalized books I’ve made with spiral wire or sewn bindings
- personalized board games I’ve made myself
- music and audio mixes
12:05 by Matthew Rose
I’ve had a lot of fun with this creative expression, but apparently, I’m rather tame as a mail artist. On occasion, I correspond with the famous mail artist John Held, Jr., who’s received everything from a preserved blowfish to a simple dollar bill, mailed sans envelope. (Even John could hardly believe those things made it through the postal service.) Pretty much anything can be mailed as long as it’s safe and legal and the postage can be hand-stamped. You can even mail a set of keys, as long as the key chain fob has the correct address and postage.
For more inspiration — or if you’d prefer to admire the mail art of others rather than create your own — I recommend the fabulous Griffin & Sabine series by Nick Bantock.
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Posted November 18, 2005 by Mariva in arts, books, community, fun, resources
Attention footwearphiles! If you’re between shoe-shopping sprees, content yourself with some eye candy — books about shoes:
Mad About Shoes
by Emma Bowd
Shoes: A Celebration of Pumps, Sandals, Slippers & More
by Linda O’Keeffe
Posted November 9, 2005 by Mariva in books, fashion, gifts
Reuters released a story titled “Electronic paper moves from sci-fi to marketplace.” The first paragraph references Neal Stephenson‘s sci-fi novel The Diamond Age: Or, a Young Lady’s Illustrated Primer, because the plot features an electronic book that utilizes nanotechnological paper. Several companies are currently developing electronic paper, the first stage of this amazing technology.
Posted November 8, 2005 by Mariva in books, gadgets, innovations, news
When I think of Henry Winkler, like many other people, I remember "The Fonz" from the ’70s sitcom Happy Days. But apparently he’s done a lot of other stuff as well, some of it rather impressive.
On NPR’s Fresh Air, Winkler discusses his life, including being the son of Jewish Holocaust survivors, and he addresses having dyslexia, something I didn’t know about him. He poignantly describes being diagnosed relatively late in life and coming to terms with it:
When I was 31, when my stepson was in the third grade, I found out that I wasn’t stupid, I wasn’t lazy, and I wasn’t not living up to my potential…. First, you have a lot of anger, because all of those arguments, all of that name-calling, all of those punishments, were for naught…. What is so important for the parent to tell the child is that it does not matter that you learn differently. All that you have to know is that you do — somewhere in you — have greatness, and your job is to figure out what that is and give it to the world as a gift.
About reading — which actors and producers have to do a lot of — he says, "Every book that I own is in hardcover and on the shelf so I can see it, because every book that I’ve read is a triumph." Not only does Winkler read books, but he co-authors them as well: children’s novels about a kid with learning disabilities. His books are so popular that the current generation of kids recognize Winkler not as "The Fonz," but as the author of Hank Zipzer Collection: The World’s Greatest Underachiever.
You can catch Winkler in Out of Practice, a sitcom about a dysfunctional family of physicians, on Mondays at 9:30 on CBS.
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Posted November 3, 2005 by Mariva in books, education, entertainment