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Innovative Paper Planners (and more) from WeekDate

Innovative Paper Planners (and more) from WeekDate

"I Need From" Pad from WeekDate

    For any number of reasons, some people prefer paper to electrons for keeping track of their schedules, to-do lists, and other organizational needs. If you’re one of those people, you simply have to check out the products available from WeekDate.

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    WeekDate planner - open

      WeekDate makes one of the most innovative paper planners on the market, their namesake WeekDate Weekly Planner. The WeekDate is available in a number of attractive, stylish covers, but what really sets it apart from other paper planners is it’s accommodation for recurring events. The three-panel design allows you to list recurring monthly events on the top panel, recurring weekly events in the bottom panel, and one-off daily events in the middle – which means you don’t have to re-enter that monthly doctor’s appointment or that weekly status meeting every time you flip a page in your planner. The efficient design and clear layout make it easy to see everything at a glance, so you can quickly find available times for new meetings or see what’s up next on your agenda. ($34.95)

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      The WeekDate system is also available as a wall calendar, which would make an excellent addition to a would-be organized family’s kitchen wall. ($34.95)

      WeekDate has just announced a new product that appeals to the lifehackista in me, the I Need From Pad (or “INF” for short). The INF is a tabbed shopping list, so you can easily create and add to separate lists for, say, the grocery store, the home improvement store, the kid’s school clothes, and the pet store – or wherever else you find yourself needing to shop on a semi-regular basis.  Pages are glue-bound, like a memo pad, so they can be removed easily to take just the pages you need when you’re headed to a particular store – leaving the rest intact. ($9.95)

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      I’m less impressed by WeekDate’s What Did I Wear When? Pad, which allows you to record your clothing choices for various events so you can avoid showing up next time in the same outfit. It looks incredibly functional for the task it’s designed to do, but I’m not sure I see the need for it. Then again, anyone who knows me knows I’m not exactly a fashion maven – I do my best to wear clothes that more-or-less match, but being seen in the same outfit more than once isn’t really on my “to-worry-about” list. More fashion-minded people may disagree – perhaps the What Did I Wear When? Pad finally scratches an itch you’ve lived with all your life. ($13.95)

      (For a different take on the What Did I Wear When? Pad from someone who did find it useful, check out the review from Right Brain Organizing.)

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      In the interest of fair disclosure, I should mention that WeekDate has been a sponsor of one of Lifehack’s contests, the Spread the Love contest we held last February. But I’m not promoting them here because they’ve been a sponsor – they became a sponsor because we love them! Lifehack has been singing the praises of the WeekDate system since well before last Valentine’s Day; Lorie Marrero write them up almost a year earlier, saying “WeekDate is one of the most creative things I have seen in a while.”

      So give WeekDate a look. It’s not too late to pick up a calendar for 2009, and it’s never too late to get your shopping organized.

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      The Gentle Art of Saying No

      The Gentle Art of Saying No

      No!

      It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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      But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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      What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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      But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

      1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
      2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
      3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
      4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
      5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
      6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
      7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
      8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
      9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
      10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

      Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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