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The 12 Days of Giveaways: Day 12 – JetPens

The 12 Days of Giveaways: Day 12 – JetPens

    Today’s the last day of Lifehack’s 12 Days of Giveaways holiday promotion. It’s been a lot of fun to offer our Lifehack readers a chance to take home some great products to help them bring their personal productivity skills up a notch or two. (Or three. Or more.)

    For the last giveaway, we’ve got a Paper Productivity Starter Kit courtesy of JetPens.

    But before we get to that, let’s talk about yesterday’s Helvetindex Cards giveaway. More specifically, let’s reveal which 5 Lifehack readers are going to have a bundle of 100 cards sent to them for answering the following question:

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    “When do you find yourself reaching for paper over digital tools — and why?”

    The winning comments, some of which come from our website and some from Facebook, can be found below::

    “I’ve stepped away from electronic task lists. No medium, no matter how hi-tech it is, will ever replace the flexibility of paper. Everyday I have a 3×5 that has all my appointments/scheduled items, reminders, tasks that need to be done, and tasks I want to have done. Writing those kinds of things down is faster when I’m busy in the middle of the day than typing it into a device.” – Brian Damitz

    “I adore index cards! But those flimsy ones from Staples just don’t feel right, so I’ve been printing my own on heavy card stock in different colors, with little grids. These look even nicer. I reach for paper for the quickest capture of ideas, reminders, to-dos, quotes, everything–and the humble index card is my paper of choice.” – Andrea Graham

    “No carefully typed list or mind map online or on a smartphone can replace the satisfaction of seeing my own hand channel my thoughts rather than some impersonally neat font. I reach for paper over digital tools when I have ideas that need expressing right at the moment. The absence of a delete key either frees me from any inhibitions about my thoughts or forces me to consider them more clearly. Either way, my output with a pen is more authentic than that with digital tools.” – Catherine Zuo

    “I reach for paper over digital tools when I need to brainstorm. For some reason when I’m using digital tools, my mind moves to fast. Paper allows me to really process my thoughts and to make connections that I wouldn’t otherwise make.” – Donnie Nicole Smith

    “I find myself using old fashion systems anytime I need to make sure that I will actually do something… Which is pretty much always. I found long ago that the more modern solutions are only good for me to capture lists with. So my Omni Focus tools (Ipad and Mac) are filled with running lists of all types, most importantly all of the awesome books I come across that I want to read. As for organizing my life and getting things done paper is the only way I can keep an organized system. I would love to try the Helvetindex cards becasue the only other 2 decent cards I have ever found are Levenger (which I am not in love with) and Exacompta but They can be hard to come by at times. It is nice to see that there is potentially a new choice. What I like most about the idea of Helvetindex cards is they are actually 3×5. The Exacompta are larger which is the only other downside to them at times.” – Bornagainscholar

    Congratulations to all five winners — now go out and get some small binder clips so that you’ll be ready to assemble your Hipster PDA for the new year!

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    About Today’s Giveaway

    JetPens is an amazing resource for those who are especially fond of using paper to help you get things done. Carrying a wide variety of well-known and highly-regarded writing tools as well as some hard-to-find goods that many fans of paper covet, you can’t go wrong with placing an order through JetPens.

    JetPens has generously offered what we’ve called the Paper Productivity Starter Kit, which contains a good sampling of popular items across several categories. Anyone who is a fan of pen, pencil and paper will be familiar with some of its contents as well. The retail value of this package is approximately $50, but the value you’ll get by using it is far greater.

    What’s in the Paper Productivity Starter Kit?

    Everything you need to get started using paper as your primary productivity tool is here. Thanks to Brad Dowdy at JetPens for putting this stellar combination of products together in one amazing package.

    How to Enter

    In order to enter to win this package from JetPens, you need to leave a comment below or on our Facebook fan page that answers the following:

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    “What are the 3 things you’ve written down as goals for 2012 — and did you use a pen, pencil or device to capture them?”

    Leaving a comment on both our Facebook fan page and here at Lifehack.org will get you 2 entries, so but you need to give us two items that you like the most – no copying and pasting!

    The Fine Print

    Employees of JetPens and of Stepcase (including current independent contractors of both) are not eligible for this contest. The prize can only be shipped to addresses within the continental United States, so keep that in mind when entering. The winning entry will be judged by the Stepcase Lifehack editing team and winners will be notified on the platform in which their winning entry was placed (either on the Lifehack.org Facebook wall or by email through our commenting system here the website). For those entering contest with a comment on our site, in order to be considered eligible, you MUST leave a contact email when leaving a comment (it’s the only way we’ll know how to contact you). Entries must be submitted by 10 am Eastern the following weekday and winners will be chosen by 12 pm Eastern time on the same day. The winner will be announced the same day on Lifehack.org, and will be notified beforehand.

    Good luck!

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    (Photo credit: Pen on Blank Notebook via Shutterstock)

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    Mike Vardy

    A productivity specialist who shows you how to define your day, funnel your focus, and make every moment matter.

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    Last Updated on July 21, 2021

    The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

    The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

    No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

    Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

    Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

    A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

    Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

    In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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    From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

    A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

    For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

    This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

    The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

    That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

    Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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    The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

    Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

    But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

    The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

    The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

    A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

    For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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    But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

    If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

    For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

    These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

    For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

    How to Make a Reminder Works for You

    Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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    Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

    Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

    My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

    Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

    I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

    More on Building Habits

    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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    Reference

    [1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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