2009.5 hpda calendars now available

A little earlier than usual, the new hPDA calendar templates for the second half of 2009 are now available. You can download them for free on the Active Voice Downloads page, along with the 2009.0 calendar templates. Just click on “See the Templates” –> “Organization and Lists.”

Active Voice offers wallpapers and hPDA templates as free .png and scalable-vector .pdf graphics that you can download to your desktop and use in your favorite planner. They are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution – Noncommercial – Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.

While you’re there, please take a look at some of the other free templates that I offer. Don’t see something you need? See something that needs improving? Feel free to leave me a comment or contact me.

2009.0 hpda calendars are here

hPDA template 2008 calendar downloadNew hPDA calendar templates for the first half of 2009 are now available on the Active Voice Downloads page. Just click on “See the Templates” –> “Organization and Lists.”

The popular 2009 calendar iPhone wallpapers are now available too.

Active Voice offers wallpapers and hPDA templates as free .png and scalable-vector .pdf graphics that you can download to your desktop and use in your favorite planner. They are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution – Noncommercial – Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.

new calendars are here

hPDA template 2008 calendar downloadNew hPDA calendar templates for the second half of 2008 are now available on the Active Voice Downloads page. Just click on “Hipster PDA Templates” — “See the Templates.”

There, you’ll find calendars for the standard template design under “Organization & Lists” and for the hPhone custom set under “Just for Fun.”

Active Voice offers wallpapers and hPDA templates as free .png and scalable-vector .pdf graphics that you can download to your desktop and use in your favorite planner. They are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution – Noncommercial – Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.

goal-oriented productivity

Simple Critical Path Management diagramIn the course of designing and testing hPDA templates, I have found that many of the people who organize their planners also follow a productivity methodology such as David Allen’s popular Getting Things Done (GTD) system.

As a freelance writer and editor, I understand the importance of good workflow management, so I looked into GTD and other popular methodologies. To my surprise, none of them felt like a good match with my style.

Curious about why, I took a serious look at how I manage my own workflow. What was different? What was similar? The answers that I found were personally illuminating. They also offer interesting possibilities for other freelancers too.

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one more thing…

hPDAphone Projects template.In conjunction with the launch of Mac OS X Leopard, Active Voice is proud to announce the complete set of hPDAphone templates is now available for you to download and use in your favorite personal planner. Ever since the original announcement back in July, I’ve been introducing new templates every few weeks — a little more frequently than new OS X rollouts, but not by much.hPDAphone template: calendar

What started as a lark has turned into the longest sustained burst of template-based creativity I’ve had so far. The responses have been overwhelmingly positive and enthusiastic, and have spurred me to keep trying to come up with ever-more lickable designs. Along the way, I’ve improved my skills with The Omni Group’s transcendently brilliant OmniGraffle app, which means better graphic design options for my clients, for example QuinnCreative.hPDAphone: Address template

Look for occasional additions to the core set of templates — after all, there’s still a lot of blank space on the home screen. Also, look for a 2008.0 calendar template soon.

And if you decide to mix other templates in with your hPDAphone templates, don’t worry — you won’t brick your hPDA.

paperjamming your computer

Cluttered DeskFor freelance writers, it’s all about the clip. All your research files, interview transcripts, and notes are there to help you create a professionally written product. But what do you do with the rest?

Considering how inexpensive external storage is these days, it might seem easier to just keep buying more — and larger — external hard drives or to upload your old files to an online storage provider. But those options have some very tangible drawbacks for freelancers.

As a freelancer, you have contractual and legal obligations to keep certain records for a specified time. Beyond those, disposal significantly reduces the amount of time that a program like Blacktree’s popular Quicksilver requires to index your files. It also cuts down the time — and narrows the results — of keyword and metadata searches.

In short, the less stuff you have to manage, the less you have to manage stuff.

That’s where PaperJamming techniques and templates come in. PaperJamming is personalized file management made fun. Here’s how to implement it on your computer:

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my hpda configuration

My first hPDAI discovered Merlin Mann’s hPDA concept around the same time I discovered the Rollabind disc binding system, and for me the benefits of combining them were immediately self-evident. I hacked my first “field-strength” ring-bound hPDA using covers from an old poly folder, a strap made from an elastic hair band, and three small Rollabind rings; it proved to be rugged, reliable, and indispensable.

The only problem I had was that the thin covers allowed the rings to torque sideways when stored in my back pants pocket, flexing the covers and the cards at their weak hole joints. So when Levenger introduced its CircaPDA this past summer — using the same extra-thick clear poly covers as their other Circa notebooks — I quickly retired my original covers and have been proudly packin’ Circa ever since.

Quality-wise, it was like moving up from a kit car to a Lexus. But regardless of the bodywork, it’s what’s under the hood that ultimately counts. Here’s what’s under mine:

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new hpda templates: writing ideas

hPDA Template: Writing Ideas“That would make great blog entry!”

How many times have you found yourself reaching for your hPDA to jot down a great idea that came to you in the field? If you’re like me, more times than you can count.

Problem was, I would have to jot them down on whatever card I happened to have handy — a footer, a source card, a half-full note capture, or even a blank card. Later, when I would assemble the cards into the “Ideas” section of my to-do notebook, the hodge-podge of cards of all shapes and sizes just looked all wrong. My ideas deserved something better.

Yours do, too.

Check out my new Writing Ideas Cards on the downloads page. In portrait and landscape, scalable for hPDAs up through Classic.

Active Voice offers templates as free .png graphics that you can drag-and-drop to your desktop and use in your favorite planner. They are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution – Noncommercial – Share Alike 2.5 License.

tuesday hack: pda harmony

The strengths of the hPDA concept — ruggedness, reliability, and simplicity — derive from its preferred medium, the humble 3×5 card. But as hard as it is for me to admit, paper does have its limitations. Ink affixes the data to the storage medium statically, and in doing so it limits the user’s ability to manipulate the data.

On the other hand, while electronic storage offers magnificent interactivity, the data manipulation and search experience can be more complex and intensive than on an index card. If only index cards could sort themselves!

But until scientists figure out a way to manufacture smart 3×5 cards (and for any scientists reading this, there’s probably a Nobel Prize in it for you), here’s the best of both worlds — a quick hack for my wife’s Palm that blends the yin of a PDA with the yang of a hipster (or is it the other way around?). It uses three small Rollabind rings affixed to a sheet trimmed from a poly file folder, which is then slipped into the leather holder’s card pocket. A stylus with a built-in pen allows her to translate between the two with ease. The hPDA is perfect for shopping lists, quick reminders, and taking notes on the fly. The PDA manages her complex and ever-changing calendar.

Now if I could only get her to use my hPDA templates