John Bokma MexIT
freelance Perl programmer

The Blog Box: Getting Things Done

Wednesday, January 3, 2007 | 2 comments

One of my resolutions for 2007 is to post more to my blog and write more articles for this site. The thing is, in order to be able to blog, say, every day, I need inspiration. I have days that I come up with 10 things I can blog about without even thinking and then there are days I can't come up a single topic (yes, I have boring days as well). At first I tried to collect those ideas in a document I made using Writer. But somehow I want to do it too well, and too good looking so it became a task in itself.

Solution: The Blog Box

Yesterday I came with a simple idea for my blogging needs: buy ruled index cards (3" x 5"), a set of card guides and a box for keeping the cards and the guides and write down those ideas. Well, it's a bit more complicated then that, but read on.

So by the end of the day Esme and I went to OfficeMax located in Plaza Animas to buy the pieces of what I called the blog box. However, we couldn't find a nice storage box. The only one available was made of "smoked plastic" and looked extremely ugly. So we went to Plaza las Americas, which is quite nearby, also because I wanted to buy an English magazine or two.

But also in Plaza las Americas we couldn't find a nice storage box for 3" x 5" index cards. So we gave up and decided to look at home for a box I could use.

Unfolded carton tea storage box used as model.
Unfolded carton tea storage box used as model.

Back at home Esme reminded me that I used a carton tea box for storing blanc index cards, same size: 3" x 5". But the box was not very strong for daily usage, so Esme decided to copy the design onto cardboard. I gave her the cardboard box of the Microsoft wired keyboard 500 I bought recently and she started with copying the tea storage box onto the carton and cutting it out. After a short time she was ready, and the box was perfect.

The blog box.
The blog box.

The blog box has no cover to protect it from dust, which isn't a big deal since if it starts to gather dust it's a lost case anyway. However since there is a house gecko living somewhere above my desk I have to be a bit careful where exactly on my desk I place it unless I want to get my fingers dirty.

How to use the blog box

The blog box was partially inspired by reading the first 30 pages of "Getting things Done" (GTD) by David Allen some time ago. A book I really have to finish. Especially the "Get it all out of your head" part is very important to me because I can stay awake for hours in the night examining each idea I have in my head over and over again. Since the computer is not always on, and my PDA is not always available I decided to go with the paper solution, and this is how I intent to use the blog box:

I plan to write down an estimate of the time I think it will take me to finish the task mentioned on the card, and verify if my estimate was good or not when I have finished writing the blog entry or article and write down the actual time it took me.

Each day I will dedicated a certain amount of time to blogging. This means that I pick one or more cards that will cover the available time, and start blogging. When a card is done I'll move it to the ready and done box (which Esme has to make for me).

New ideas will be written down on a card of the right color when they pop up, and moved to a card of a different color if it eventually grows beyond the upper time bound on the initial card.

The card guides will be used to create several categories. Some will be related to the site, others will be related to site maintenance. For example:

I have no idea how good the blog box system is going to work. But I am going to use it for at least a month and will report on how well it works (or not) somewhere in February. If you have any suggestions or ideas, please post a comment.

My Shopping List

I only have to buy another set that contains blue colored cards. Also not on the list are two storage boxes, one for the to do cards, and one for the finished cards. For the latter one can also use a paper bin, but I want to be able to evaluate after a certain period of time how many cards I did, also to get a rough estimate of how much time I invested in my site.

Also today

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