November 2, 2011

New Diary/Activity Template

A few months ago I came across an adapted version of the Chronotebook, at The Geekette Speaketh. The Muji Chronotebook won an international design award in 2007, and is a very intriguing concept for a day planner. The Geekette adaptation is still around capturing the whole day, and I was thinking about how this might be adapted into a work day solution.

I used to try to do the GTD thing, but I didn't find that it fitted in my brain. So I thought I could include a bit of a to do list with it as well. What I came up with is below, with an example of how I use it beside.


  • The concept is that the very inner circle would be what you need to focus on for the day - if there is a particular focus. 
  • The next circle is your diary, where you put in your meetings and any scheduled time that you have allocated for particular tasks. I'm not all that good at ensuring that I have scheduled my work, but I'm trying to work on that.
  • The outer circle is what you actually did during the day. I'm not entirely dogmatic about this, since I have the sort of job where I am constantly interrupted with short phone calls, questions and quick to answer emails it would be difficult to really capture everything. So there are sometimes gaps in things, or I just include it in the big chunk of work I'm doing.
  • The last part of the circle is for reminders for the day - either for the start or end of the day.
  • Below the diary/activity circle is a brief To Do List for the day. I've bought in a little of the GTD-type thoughts of classifying the activities a little bit, but I really don't find it onerous to bring tasks over to the next day if I have to.

I find that it is working quite well for me. I did a trial run with single pages and it worked quite well so I have made a bound journal with the pages now.

If you have any ideas about how to improve this I'm happy to hear it. If you're interested in using it yourself then feel free to download the PDF A4 document (which has two images, since they are A5). 

October 25, 2011

Exciting new personal project

Next Tuesday I will be starting a year long project based around a number of TED presentations, some of which were included in my previous post.

I have started a new blog to capture the A Year of TED project, which explains the entire project and will be a place for me to explore what I am learning from the inspirational TED speakers.

It means that I will probably slow down even further on this blog, but then again some of the talks are work related, so there may be some outcomes that end up in this blog - we'll see how it goes.

September 11, 2011

Things to inspire (from TED)

I'm a stumbler, that means I have a StumbleUpon account and waste hours of my life looking at websites I would never otherwise have found.  Fortunately I don't have children, so I have time to partake in this activity :-)

There have been some amazing sites and pieces of information that I have come across while stumbling that have opened up my world to things I might never have known about.  One of the most inspiring serendipitous stumbles I had occurred a couple of years ago, when I discovered Randy Pausch's final lecture and with it the wonders of TED.

Before I start on TED, I would recommend that everyone watches Randy's final lecture.  If you can get through the tears at the beginning and the end (I watched it on a train, not a good idea) this is an inspiring presentation that made me want to be a better person (don't think I've managed too much of that at this stage).

But moving on from Randy, since subscribing to TED through my iTunes I have encountered some equalling inspiring and really interesting presentations on knowledge, design, technology and the human body.  So my all time favourite TED presentations, the ones that I have carried with me and thought about incorporating into my life are:

Barry Schwartz on our loss of wisdom - moral will and moral skill, something really important to be aware of.
Rory Sutherland: Sweat the small stuff - the art of design and how we make things too complicated.
Alain de Botton: A kinder, gentler philosophy of success -  which is a fascinating insight into what might actually be making us all anxious and miserable.
Elizabeth Gilbert on nurturing creativity - which just makes sense and I think anyone with creative talent needs to watch.
Don Norman on 3 ways good design makes you happy - love the enthusiasm
David Logan on tribal leadership - I found this one to be so interesting that I have since purchased his book, with Steve Zaffron called The three laws of performance. This is an amazing book that makes a lot of sense but helps you look at leadership and performance in a very different way - I highly recommend it.
David Cameron: The next age of government - for a government worker, and an information manager, this is very interesting
Tom Wujec: Build a tower, build a team - I would love to try this with our current organisation
Any presentation by Ze Frank - but I love his website as well
Aimee Mullins Opportunity of adversity - another inspirational one
Jill Bolte Taylor's stroke of insight - this one is great for the human body stuff
Being a person that works with data these are spectacular:
David McCandless: The beauty of data visualization
Jonathan Harris collects stories
Jonathan Harris: the Web's secret stories

The thing is that there are easily another 40 presentations that I could link to here. As a matter of fact I started writing this post months ago and the reason I haven't posted it was I didn't feel I had included all of the presentations I thought were brilliant, let alone the ones that are just intriguing or interesting. Then as I worked on it more and more presentations were added.

Today I just decided to post it and let you guys trawl through them all for yourselves. There is an amazing presentation from a journalist who became homeless for a year, brilliant presentations on all aspects of design, amazingly inspiring presentations from people who have overcome so much.

But enough of my raving, if you have not yet entered the world of go and have a look, there is bound to be something or someone that will inspire, challenge and teach you something.

April 18, 2011

eDiscovery Conference and Presentation

Last week was the eDiscovery conference in Melbourne that I was asked to present at.  I did decide to use Prezi for the presentation, which I think was really the best choice as the presentation really lent itself to this format.  The presentation is available at

The talk itself went down fairly well, as well as I guess I could expect in a room that was mainly legal people and vendors.  This was the problem, in my opinion, the conference was a very intriguing mix and I really don't know that the Information Managers who were asked to speak were really given a good enough brief about the focus of the other people in the room to make our presentations meaningful to everyone.

For me, I really enjoyed the IM briefs and quite a few of the eDiscovery process ones as well, there were issues I had never really considered that helped solidify for me that the focus of the work I am doing will be very helpful for the business in the long run.

Maybe I am misjudging the level of interest from the legal people, maybe they really did get something out of our presentations as well - guess I have to wait for the feedback to really find out - it just felt like there was a bit of a disconnect between what each side of the room might have been trying to get out of it.

I know that the focus of the conference was to bring IM, IT and Legal together, and Warren tried very hard to do this in his chairing role - it just seemed to lack some unity for me. And that is not saying that I didn't think it was worthwhile or interesting, I really got a lot out of it, just not quite cohesive.

March 31, 2011

Sometimes it is just your job to listen

I feel like I have become a bit of a therapist in the last couple of weeks, as I have started conducting the needs gathering workshops within the organisation.

The way that I have approached this is that I have provided them with a template to capture the information they need to do their jobs; the information they create as part of their jobs; the IT/manual systems they get information from and put information into; the people they rely on for information and the people they communicate information to; and finally the limitations that they experience in all of these areas.

Many of them haven’t done the pre-work, but it is a good template to commence the conversations around.

On the whole the majority of the comments are not unexpected, the revolve around communications, standardising procedures, better access to the information they require, sorting out the shared drive, having compliant and accessible systems and so on.

So why do I say I feel like a therapist? Well there are a lot of these areas that have obviously not had someone sit down with them and give them the ability to explain where corporate systems are not supporting them properly, or where they struggle to find the information they need, or anything along these lines really.

So I’m getting everything relating to processes, organisational structures that don’t work, corporate policies relating to vehicles and any number of other frustrations coming through in the discussions.

But don’t get me wrong, I’m enjoying the process and some of the conversations have allowed me to fill some gaps in my corporate knowledge in the process. And, above all else, I think that it is important that staff are given the chance to get these frustrations off their chest. Does it mean I will be able to do anything to influence changes to many of these issues? Of course not, but as the title says sometimes it is just your job to listen.

And for the things that I can influence? They will go into the Needs Matrix for inclusion in the Information Management Strategic Plan.