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I now thow my fedora into the ring of productivity.

I have been following David Seah’s blog for some time now, and have been intrigued by his sweet suite of productivity tools, called The Printable CEO Series:

These are all very cool tools that make goal setting, project planning and task execution orderly and fun. Yes, I said “fun.” He has made the process of getting things done (GTD) into a sorta’ game where you track your progress by awarding points to each item, then reward yourself after “winning.” I highly recommend that you skip on over and either download his free forms or even purchase some of the pre-printed merchandise.

It appears to be a great system (I have not used it…yet, just admiring it). One comment that I have is that there appears to be excellent big-picture, 10,000 ft-view (re: annul/quarterly/monthly) tools: compact calendar, concrete goal tracker, and excellent minutae, 100 ft-view (daily/hourly) tools: emergent task planner, emergent task timer, task order up, task progress tracker), but a lack of the mid-range, 1,000 ft-view (weekly) tools. This is probably because my lack of understanding or lack of digging in deep and using them, but nevertheless, I give you the:

The Weekly Project Planner (PDF)

With all accolades to Mr. Seah, I offer my draft of a weekly project view/review tool that might integrate with The Portable CEO Series. My version is loosely based on the above, albeit not as graphically sexy, but hopefully the utility will show itself.

It is divided up into three sections:

  1. Projects Area: allows for 6 simultaneous projects per week (don’t kid yourself, we are all trying to get things done, any more than six and your are crazy). Each project gets a prioritized box (1-6), in that box you write the ‘big idea’ and/or goal that needs resolved this week. Use David’s tools to break that goal into small tasks.
  2. Project Calendar: a 7-day, simple box calendar where you can write project-related deadlines and appointments for this week. This is not a place to keep lunch dates and non-project activities, this is a weekly dashboard for the top project events of the week.
  3. Project Scribbles: is a memo/doodle/scribble area for brainstorming the weekly project plan(s).

Please comment, or make suggestions to this tool.

Thank you, David, for all of the great work you have done.

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I have recently (twice in the last month) played “Settlers of Catan” (and wiki). It is an amazingly-fun game!

Quickly, it is a role-playing game that is a mix of “Risk” “Monopoly” and “The Game of Life.”

Strategy, negotiation, resource allocation, intrigue…it has it all!

It can take as long as Risk and Monopoly (I guess), but it hasn’t in my experience. One cool aspect of the game is that the board is unique each time it is played!

I have never played one of the “Sim” games, but I imagine it is a board-game version of that genre.

Check it out!

(BTW: for alternate or shorter versions of Monopoly, check out Seth’s page here.)

Another lo-fi game we like to play with our children is called “Pass the Pigs.” It is like playing craps with swine! It forces them to do addition quickly in their heads, and it is buckets ‘o fun.

Game on!

changthis.com offers, like, a biz-illion short (usually one page) manifestos about change in our culture, business, politics…well, everything.

Faith is noticeably absent though.

An excerpt from their FAQ:

Do you have a political slant?

Yes. We are against demagoguery, dishonesty, shortsightedness, superstition, fundamentalism, unequal rights and violent argument.

We are optimists and we believe that an informed, motivated electorate is likely to do the right thing, given the facts and given a chance.

We reject the status quo of both parties if it is just the status quo.

And we’re realists. We don’t believe it’s a good idea to cut off your nose to spite your face. We don’t believe in anonymity. We don’t think someone should do something just because they can.

All of the above sounds good…but it seems the above worldview is based on the foundation of the ‘inherant goodness of man’ which I, along with the reformed tradition, soundly denounce, both out of experience and because it is true.
I denounce it because of the experience of my own sin; I am not inherantly good.

The reformers denounce it because the Bible states otherwise:

…just to name a few.

Freakonomics blog reports on the increasing cost of metals in construction and their impact on society at large.

This has really been a problem for the last two years or so

Think of it this way, steel is a major component in the following materials/products:

  • Concrete reinforcement.
  • Structural steel (hot-rolled shapes).
  • Metal stud framing (cold-rolled shapes); metal studs are used primarily in commercial construction whereas wood studs are used primarily on residential construction.
  • HVAC ductwork and piping.
  • Plumbing piping (schedule 40 anyone?)
  • Electrical conduit.
  • Fasteners (an architect’s fancy name for nails, screws, bolts, etc.)
  • Not to mention all of the finished products that include steel.

Copper is a major component in the following materials/products:

  • Plumbing piping (hot/cold water).
  • Electrical conductors (an architect’s fancy name for wire).
  • Some flashing and roofing.

Aluminum is a major component in the following materials/products:

  • Architectural decorative metalwork.
  • Most flashing and some roofing.
  • Commercial-quality (Architectural) windows, doors and storefronts.

I haven’t mentioned petroleum products:

  • Asphalt.
  • Transportation of all building materials.
  • Plastics (including electrical wire insulation).
  • Extraction, refinement and fabrication of most products.

So, in the last couple of years, you mix an increased demand from China and India for these materials as these nations develop their infrastructure, as well as an OPEC-created false short supply of oil and petroleum products and you have the environment for a mess in construction costs in America (as well as other locations).

I and my clients have felt the sting of this for at least two years.

What would have been the original ‘butterfly effect‘ that caused all of this?

Here are more articles to help with homeschooling from a biblical worldview:

A Biblical View of Mathematics

Creation and Mathematics; or What Does God Have To Do With Numbers?

I have not (yet) read this paper, but the concept is very interesting:

Redeeming Physics: Biblical and Theological Resources for a God-Centered Approach.

In our homeschool, we are trying to make everything based on a biblical worldview. My oldest child is eight (third grade), but this will come in handy soon.

(HT: JT @ Between Two Worlds)

Maybe it is just me, but the greatest personal benefit of web2.0 to me is not the “social” aspect, but the tagging. I am a digital pack-rat; I always have been. The problem with being a pack-rat in the paradigm of folder/file is actually finding the stuff. Folder hierarchy can get quite complicated quickly: if it is too broad, you can’t find anything; if it is too deep, you can’t find anything.

Solution: tagging.

Read the rest of this entry »

My son will love this movie: Men O’ War.

produced by the sibling team at Outside Hollywood.

I just updated my blog to the new Tarski theme and added a custom header of the “frozen banditos” (from L2R):

  • Eeyore
  • Rabbit
  • Pooh
  • Tigger

Enjoy!

Giving you $.02 for your 2 cents
Problogger has suggested techniques to get more comments on a blog; the short list is:

  • Invite comments
  • Ask questions
  • Be open ended
  • Interact with comments left
  • Set boundaries
  • Be humble
  • Be gracious
  • Be controversial?
  • ‘Reward’ comments
  • Make it easy to comment

Jakob Neilsen suggests that of the traffic to any website:

“90% of users are lurkers who never contribute, 9% of users contribute a little, and 1% of users account for almost all the action.”

My stats thus far would sound a loud “here, here” with both problogger and Mr. Nielsen.

Read the rest of this entry »

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