Happy New Year 2012

Happy New Year!

As usual, I’m not making any resolutions for the year as I have some perfectly good ones left over from years past that have hardly been used at all. Actually, I do have one; I’m going to start keeping a journal. I used to do that, if nothing but to log telephone calls. I don’t plan on anything fancy, just a way to account for each day’s passage. So many times at the end of the day I sit shell shocked and wonder where the day went. I was busy from start to finish but with, it seems, little to account for my day. Yesterday’s entry reads:

Another peek and shriek of project assessment folder to develop generic product review standards to post on F-I. Cleaning crew@ 10:00 AM, $127 with tip. Tell Annette they left garbage bags in foyer, found it strewn across the lawn later. Books came in. Must deposit progeny at Greyhound at midnight, set alarm. Made potato & green bean stew for dinner with leftover french onion soup. Need to add forms to real estate contract, fill it out and send it to Estelle for LC house sale. Need to write a letter of reference for BC.

Calls: talked to M (twice) about L’s sewing contract, possible boot camp class in the spring, must go to Houston for prelim.

Talked to KB about his project & untapped market potential to AU individuals, may be going to LA for operational assessment/consult.

VB called about CB needing grading help (forgot to ask V for referral to navajo silversmith to replace watch band). Talked to CB about neckline grades. Was using Handford (pg.17) setting up rules in Patternsmith CAD (came w/autometrix cutter). Told him the better guide as to sleeve & collar grades was the body, not the book (referred him to pg 161 my book, shrink grading, fig 5.44 -if he didn’t know, others don’t either, should write about it), sent scan of Kopp neckline size template -which he later said he had already. Need to do more research (ask Marina, possibly torture blog visitors with unscientific neckline size survey) and said I was keeping his conduit bender. That it’s mine after having moved it so many times to sweep. He says the law favors me.

Notes to self: X is probably a genius but over the phone sounds like he can’t find his own feet. I MUST assume every caller could be just as “stupid” as he is…

I’m putting it in a spreadsheet for now -until I decide on whatever software to use. Anyone have any recommendations of something they like? I have looked at several, namely iDaily Diary, The Journal, Alpha Journal, Red Notebook and The Guide. My requirements are that it run on a PC and costs $50 or less. A plus for me would be a clearly delineated category to log detailed notes on phone calls. I don’t have a preference for free or open source software, I’m interested in features. As a policy, I pay for free software with a donation but feel free to recommend them if it will help someone else.

I hope yesterday and today isn’t a harbinger of what’s to come for the year. It’s time to shut it down for the day but I’ve accomplished so little. Where did the day go?

Anyway, here’s to hoping for a marvelous, productive, prosperous and healthy new year!

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  1. Theresa in Tucson says:

    Kathleen, I’ve used a “Franklin Planner” for years. I use only the paper planner but I know the company has software. Don’t know as to cost though since I’m a “paper” person.

  2. Lisa Brazus says:

    Your journal is a wonderful idea. You sound like me a the end of the day. Oh where did it go? But if I recap it to my husband he always says “See you did so much today” Sorry, I can not help with the journal software. What is a Kopp neckline size template? On most days when they are over I am glad to still get the chance to wake up to another day. Happy New Year!!

  3. Brian says:

    I’m with Theresa on the Franklin Covey day planners.
    Not only is it very user friendly, but it helps sort out your “to do’s” from work related notes which is immediately something I noticed about your log. It was a mix of things done and things TO DO.
    It’s very easy to reference back to previous phone logs as long as you use the index.
    I too prefer the paper version just because it’s so fast and portable to flip to which ever day/month you need. I don’t always want to fuss around with my laptop or phone. Something about having tangible paper makes it more likely for me to use it every day.

    I find that when I use it daily, not only do I better account for my time, but also reach my goals which is it’s intended purpose as well. It fits within your $50 budget, however it’d be an annual expense rather than a one time program cost. The program versions of the Franklin planners are more costly but if it’s what you prefer I’d still say it’s worth the cost.

    Pros about software though, is that it’s much faster to set recurring events like monthly bills or birthdays ect. Whereas with the paper versions you have to remember to copy bdays to each new year. Also you can set timers (I believe) to alarm you for appointment times or to-dos.

  4. Prasanta says:

    Thank you Kathleen. Wish you the Same at the beginning of the 2012.

    I liked you articles.. You wrote that you don’t make any resolution @2012. similarly I don’t find anything new and interesting idea about making couple of resolutions. Better to stick long term goals — that must be achieved before the END!

    I would like to thank you again and want to share you that I have inspired with your site, your hard work and input for the garment industry in the areas of pattern making, running business. On 2011 I have started blog on apparel manufacturing mainly focused on engineering, planning and production management.

    Wish you a great year ahead.

  5. Theresa in Tucson says:

    I agree. Love the idea of the birthday calendar, especially the location. Going to put that in my next letter to the MIL, although she never forgets birthdays. She will, however, appreciate the technique.

  6. Kathleen says:

    Currently I keep all my appointments on my iphone, that has worked well since I always have it with me. A software journal is good for me since I’m mostly on the computer. I would lose a paper planner. -This is probably hard for you all to understand since I know “so much” but that is the nature of my disability. You know, the splinter skills with a high degree of demonstrable competence vs embarrassingly poor executive functioning skills. Ex. I keep my purse, wallet and keys in my car so I know where to find them. Luckily, my circumstances are such that I can do that safely.

    Brian: you’re exactly right that my notes are a combination of done and to do. I looked up the Covey planner software, the one for someone who has no planning system.

    Honestly, it looks awesome. Today -but what about tomorrow? I know me. The full bore program looks overwhelming right now. I don’t want to set a high barre for myself at the outset because I want to minimize failure but slowly cobble onto it as I move along. I’m less concerned about planning right now, I think it is more important for me to track what I’m currently doing and once I see how wasteful it is (in black and white, painful as it will be to see), is easier to make a compelling case to implement planning as a second step. You know, better to take stock first? I think that keeping a work journal will be an easier first step to create a habit since it is something I used to do. I don’t know how many planners I’ve bought over the years. Used for a week or two and then abandoned. I have a stack (9!) of work journals with written notes on the shelf above the desk. -all have compelling things in them, rough sketches, ideas etc. I wish I had them all in electronic format, tagged to enable sorting etc.

    I have a lot of text files on my desktop about given days but they haven’t been integrated into a comprehensive whole so I could scan from one day to the next.

    eek. Just looked at the reviews of the covey planner, mostly not good…

    Lisa: the neckline template is from the 1993 ed Kopp pattern making book, published by Fairchild. I had uploaded the templates in the forum but T said she recently bought a ruler -which means I had to take the links down. Posting a page or two from a book is fair use but not if the scan is of a tangible product one can buy. I am still looking for a link to purchase. If a link can’t be found, I will repost the links.

  7. Theresa in Tucson says:

    Kathleen, I purchased the template two years ago or so. Quite possibly the college bookstore had a supply and when they sold out, they were out. I went looking for a link to purchase but could not find one, just references to the Kopp book that contained the template. The Kopp book you can buy on Amazon. New price is roughly $60, with used much lower. I should have googled first, and then posted. Sorry.

  8. Kathleen says:

    I didn’t name you because I didn’t want to put you on the spot -just so you know. I looked for a link to purchase but could not find one either.

    I will repost the links but I’m uncomfortable about it. It falls within fair use being but one of 500 pages but as you know, I don’t use the privacy of the forum to violate laws or permit anyone else to. Perhaps one of our lawyer members will advise as to the proper solution.

  9. dosfashionistas says:

    Happy New Year to you, Kathleen. With all that you do, I find it incredible that you find the time to blog for us as well. I am in awe of your level of accomplishment.

    And I would love to see a discussion of neckline and shoulder grading. A neck has to get somewhat bigger as the size goes up, but the proportion to the rest of the body is the question. And a shoulder bone gets no bigger, unless you assume that a larger size person is also taller and bigger boned. I think this may be a holdover from menswear , since there is some validity to the assumption there. I think I may have learned patternmaking off the old Knopp, but it is long since lost and gone.

  10. Jim W says:

    Great post and comments. Keeping track of stuff that I do all day is something that I am still working on, not very good at, and really important (since, as a programmer, I bill by the hour when working on projects). One tool that I have just found that shows promise is ManicTime [ http://www.manictime.com ] (I use the free version). This runs in the background and keeps track of all the applications running on your PC and which files (or websites) that application has open. So at any time (or the end of the day) you can see what you were working on and for how long. You can also create a ‘Tag’ with a note about a phone conversation as you initiate the call. Looks really promising but I haven’t had time to get fully up to speed on it yet.

    One other thing I find useful is a 4’x3′ whiteboard which I have repurposed into a simple Kanban board with 3 columns, ‘Pending’, ‘Doing’, and ‘Done’. Use it to keep track of major projects that I do not want to languish because I never find the time to focus on them. [ One secret is that I never keep more than one or two projects in the ‘Doing’ column ] It’s a great motivator, and the best part is that the ‘Done!’ column is always out there in plain view so that I can’t ignore it…..

  11. Carol Phillips says:

    Everybody, Happy New Year and thank you Kathleen for all of your support here!!

    For the problem of understanding where the day went, I recommend a freeform approach using modern technology:
    A LiveScribe pen for Daily Journal stuff:

    The system is absolutely freeform — you can make sketches as well as capture handwritten text. Each page automatically goes into your computer when the software/hardware is synced up. You don’t have to do much writing — you can just TALK to it (and with permission, record meetings.)
    If you need to capture your notes as the basis of a document, software is available to turn your handwritten scrawl into ASCII text.
    You can save pages into modern .pdf files complete with the recorded sound, and those files can be saved/emailed/transmitted by whatever method you like.
    The pen plus notebook can travel with you easily (for when you want to take notes in a meeting) — considerably more efficient than carrying scrawled notes back to the desktop computer and thinking the notes will be transcribed “later”.

    With high resolution printing you can print out your own special paper; you are not limited to the company’s sizes & formats. In fact, you could print out work-order kinds of documents, and record the handwritten scrawls and meeting discussion around the approval process. Kathleen, I’m betting your plotter could generate that kind of special paper. Full details are here:

    I rely on this system for the kinds of information I positively must not lose/forget within the next 2 hours, during the daily deluge of conflicting topics. AND I’ve used pages recorded a year previously, when I need a reminder of Whose Idea Was This Project Anyway — I can get the full flavor of project meetings.

    As Dilbert says, there is an engineering solution to every problem…

    It works a lot better for me than the rigid time-slice to-do method of the big Planner companies, like Franklin Covey. I spent more than $100 for such systems, and usually didn’t have a single entry beyond about January 20th. And I would write my own database if that were the right tool — my life just isn’t as neat as a set of appointments!

  12. Jasmin says:

    Happy New Year Kathleen – on the ‘less detailed’ planning front, I buy a write/erase calendar every year, and every event goes on it, then I photograph it at the end of the year and file the pictures so I know all the significant activities and events for the year. Works cos every time someone wants to book your time, you agree something on the phone, or something significant happens, you record it.
    For work (off and on) I use the same thing at a more granular level, with a weekly or daily erasable board & pictures. Only when I’m doing lots of stuff and find it hard to track mind you. Makes it easy to find out what you’ve done and still write whatever you want. My friends think it is a little bonkers, but hey, it works! I also take pictures of anything I meeting related / important I draw for work purposes (the camera records the date and time, perfect). Point and shoot digital cameras make date/time/event recording easy in my experience, and when you have queries, you just refer them to the images of the outputs.

  13. Susan in AZ says:

    Hi Kathleen–Hope your and everyone else’s New Year is off to a promising start.

    Late comment, but just in case–I’ve carried around a paper planner for a long time to capture stuff on the fly, but for the last year or two, on my home computer I’ve really liked OneNote by the evil empire (it came with Office home edition). There are some preset tabs and sub-tabs that may or may not be useful, but you can change everything to suit. I have one megatab “Notes to Self” that is a free-form searchable journal, easy to insert photos, quoted text from web pages that retains a link to source, and whatever else.

    At work I just use Word for searchable notes. The more I write each day, the more useful it has been, especially at times when I worked out a procedure a few years ago for just this situation but haven’t needed it since until rightNOW. The brain is too full to remember all those messy details for everything these days.

    And thank you for continuing this site. Long time reader, first time commenter, and returning home sewer; I am grateful for your voice (and your commenters’) as a point of reference.

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