13 February 2016

Microscheduling at 10-minute resolution using a B5-size binder notebook

1 X Kokuyo Campus loose-leaf binder slide for one-touch light blue B5 binding device up to 100 miles-P333NLB (japan import)
According to the Business Dictionary, scheduling for a period of less than one day is called microscheduling. If you are scheduling a task to be done in the morning or evening, then you are microscheduling. If you you are scheduling your classes and meetings at intervals of 30 minutes or 1 hour, then you are microscheduling. But you may wish to push this further by microscheduling at 10 minute intervals, since short tasks normally last 10 minutes and a sequence of these small tasks can already finish a two-hour project.
A. How to make a microscheduling table

Divide the page of a 26-ring, B5-size binder notebook into half lengthwise using a red pen. Divide each page half into 6 parts with about 6 lines her hour. Draw horizontal red lines to separate the hours. The result is a 6x2 table per page, which looks like a collection of index cards.

Using red ink, label 0 to 5 in the upper left hand corner of the left half, then 6 to 11 for those in the right half. This is the morning page. In the next page, repeat the process, except that you label the table cells as 12 to 17 for the left half and 18 to 24 for the right half. This is the afternoon and evening page. 

The tables are best laid in two pages in such a way that you see your whole day's schedule in a single glance.

B. How to schedule your tasks

Draw a tick box before each task. Short tasks should be finished in 10 minutes, so make sure that these tasks should occupy only one line of the half-page. If the task description spills over succeeding lines, then you know that the task takes more than 10 minutes.

If you really wish to focus on the task, write down the task just before your are about to do it. This creates a contract between you and yourself--something that you must really do. If the task is too large, I divide it into manageable tasks that may be done in 10 minutes, e.g. open the computer, read the article, download the file, post in Facebook. In this way, you don't become overwhelmed.

You may also use my microscheduler as a logger. In case you forgot to schedule a task yet you did it, you can get your notebook to log it.  At the end of the day, you may throw away the pages of the previous day, and begin a new life.

If you like to keep a record of your life, you can file your day's activities and even color-code them according to your different roles in life. You can use a highlighter to precede each task line by a colored box. In this way, you can see at a glance where you day went and what roles did you perform more. And if you are really obsessed about these, you can count the number of times each color appeared, make a frequency table out of this, then create a pie chart. At the end of the week, you can make another pie chart for the amount of time you spent for your different roles. The results may surprise you.

C. How to design your own microscheduling table

If you do not wish to handcraft your microscheduling table everyday, you may design your preset table in Google spreadsheet or document. You may use some colors for the headers. Here are possible choices:
  • 00:00-06:00 Gray. You should be sleeping at this time!
  • 06:00-12:00 Yellow. It's a bright new day. It's time for work.
  • 12:00-18:00 Orange. The day's work is about to end. Get those tasks done before the sun sets.
  • 18:00-24:00 Gray. It's time to relax, meet family and friends, process your notebook for the next day, and update your personal blogs.
You can choose different color schemes to suit your personality. If you are using Google Docs or Spreadsheet, choose colors along the same row in the color picker when you click the Color Fill icon (that can of paint that is about to be poured). these colors have the same saturation (?) level, so they have the same strength, so to speak. Or better yet, check out colorhexa.com. I use it for my graphic design projects, e.g. making posters for my blogs.

You may wish to download for free my B5-size microscheduler for your personal use and modify it according to your taste. Don't worry. I won't ask for your e-mail address.
Microscheduling notebook
Microscheduling notebook

01 February 2016

How your blog's name defines your blog content categories and tags

The Renaming Handbook: How to Wisely Change Your Company Name, Organizational Name or Product Name
Naming a blog is the first step in blog creation, whether in Blogger or Wordpress. A good name should be suggestive of the blog's content, with enough room to expand its coverage if needed. A bad blog name is a curse and it would require lots of advertising just to change its meaning or divert its association with something nasty or contrary to the blog's values or mission-vision. As a rule, a good name should not exceed 7 syllables, because that's the maximum number a human being can store in his short term memory. It should also not be too short to be meaningless, unless it's a brand name like Kodak or Adidas and you have lots of advertising dollars to spend.

Below are some of my reflections on the names of my blogs, so that I know what to do with my blogs when I overhaul their their web designs and content classification systems. Perhaps, this exercise may be useful to you if you are starting your own blog in Blogger or if you are thinking of overhauling your blog, too.

1. Summa Physica

Tagline: Ancient, Medieval, and Modern Physics

The name recalls a relationship with Summa Theologica of St. Thomas Aquinas. This blog name is best for Medieval and Aristotelian Physics. The tagging system would employ a three-dimensional classification system:
  • Author: Aristotle, Aquinas, Augustine, Buridan, Newton, etc
  • Physics: Mechanics, Optics, Thermodynamics, etc
  • Date: Medieval, Renaissance, Modern, Ancient
Since this is matrix-based classification system and not hierarchical, I shall not use menu headers. Also, the physics education and space weather articles written in this blog will be deleted and transferred to another blog. But I'll let this idea simmer for now.

2. Clifford's Chalk

Tagline: Preparing mathematics and physics teachers for K-12

Chalk is for teaching. Clifford is the name of the mathematical physics teacher William Kingdon Clifford who invented geometric algebra. This blog can be dedicated to geometric algebra or to K-12 physics teaching. I think I'll choose the latter, because it would have greater impact in the Philippine educational system, especially in light of the K-12 and the restructuring of college education.

A possible tagging system would be the following:
  • Categories: News, Opinion, Features, Tutorials, Slides
  • Tags: English, Filipino, Math, History, Physics, Chemistry
The classification can be a tree structure, with the categories forming the trunks and the tags as the branches per trunk. This would create a nice category-tag structure. Here are some examples:
  • News, News-English
  • Tutorials, Tutorials-English
This is an ambitious project. I don't know if I have the energy for this. I think this needs a startup company to do this, but who shall fund it?

3. Monk's Hobbit

Tagline: Rebuilding Faith and Nation

Monk's Hobbit consists of two words: "Monk" and "Hobbit". "Monk" connotes anything related to the Catholic Faith, while "Hobbit" reminds us the Shire, the land of little people--the Hobbits. Hobbit" also reminds us of literature.

Right now, Monk's Hobbit uses the Category-Tag hierarchical content classification system:
  • Categories: Religion, Business, Science, Literature, Nation
  • Tags: Subdivision of the Category
Here are examples of the tagging system:
  •  Religion, Religion-Catholic, Literature-Abortion
  • Religion, Religion-Islam, Literature-Marriage
Notice that the presence of a branch, e.g. Literature-Abortion, does not presuppose the presence of the trunk among the tags, eg. Literature. This is some kind of a grafting scheme.

I don't have ideas for another overhaul of the blog content classification. I would wish to have more prominent item in the menu header for "Lord of the Rings", but I feel that it is too limiting and would affect the other categories as well. As my English teacher once said: "Write in parallel structure". This holds not only in writing, but also in blog menu headers as well.