Archive for the ‘organizing’ Category

WDW Scanning

Sunday, June 23rd, 2013
The Disney Look 2000

The Disney Look, 2000

In 2000 I participated in the Walt Disney World College Program. I kept a big plastic bin full of all the papers pertaining to my experience.

I started scanning some of them, and it is always strange to have that rush of memories flooding my brain as I touch papers I used to deal with years ago. It’s as if I’m being confronted with the 20 year old me, and what I wanted to pursue. The world was wide open with possibilities.

I’m in the place I always thought I’d be, Los Angeles, but I still have (as yet) unrealized hopes and dreams. I see remnants of the past before me and my current hopes of the future still just beyond my reach.

I am purging my papers and documents, and creating a simplified space around me.

I still have high hopes for the future, and it starts today.

Randomizing Tasks

Thursday, April 25th, 2013

I used to have a list of 10 minute tasks that I could do when I had the time. The idea was to do each at least once and then check them off, until I completed the list. Well, after much deliberation and processing, I’ve come to three 10 Min task lists:

1) Acting Prep – tasks where I gather information or find monologues I could perform, read plays, writing actions in scripts.. stuff that pertains to my acting career, but isn’t me actually performing anything.
2) Performance Practice – these are tasks where I ACTUALLY perform.
3) Other tasks – because my goals are so varied, I had to just write down a list of different tasks, like search for geocaching locations, or add to the many idea lists I have.

Then the next issue was how to randomize these! I wrote out lots of ideas, including writing each goal on an index card, but that would have been too much work. Then I thought I could print out some stuff attach it to cards– or write out numbers, and assign each task a number… et cetera.

Then I came across random.org and they suggest this for lists:

“1) Format your names in one column in a spreadsheet. Let’s call it column A.
Go to the Sequence Generator.
2) Type in 1 as your smallest value and the number of rows in your spreadsheet as your largest, then hit the submit button.
3) Copy and paste the list produced into a separate column in your spreadsheet. Let’s call it column B. The two columns contain the same number of rows and must match up.
4) Sort the rows in your spreadsheet in ascending order using column B.
Column A now contains your randomized names.”

Brilliant! So I did this with my three sets of tasks. Then I was trying to figure out how to carry this list around and cross off the items..

Then I came upon a better idea.

I wrote a new field for a set of entries Acting Prep = 55. Then I went to random.org for a sequence and added one number to each item in my HanDbase iphone app where I keep such lists. Then I added new fields: “Done” checkbox, “Postponed” checkbox and “why postponed” note area. Then I set up a filter to only show items without a checkbox. Hooray!

So this is my new approach. At the end of the list I can figure out which ones I keep procrastinating on, and come up with ways to break these down to get them actually done, or figure out why I really need to do them.

Here’s to a new productivity idea!

Condensing

Thursday, March 7th, 2013

At one point I had around 40 of those plastic bins in my room. I had kept everything in storage for a year (at $75 a month) and my roommates called the stacks “Mattropolis”. Aptly named.

Eventually I kept processing all of my stuff. The biggest things were tapes and documents. After much research I finally found a great product for digitizing my VHS tapes from my parent’s house and my grandparent’s house- a Black Magic Video Recorder. This worked GREAT! I was able to process a few hundred tapes (which at an average of 6 hours a tape is a LOT). I hit a few roadblocks on this process. 1) I ran out of hard drive space. I have at least 2 tb of vhs tapes encoded (and tossed afterwards). Plus a backup drive that has the same videos on it. Then there’s several gigs on my computer currently that don’t yet have a backup. 2) a few of my tapes kept skipping- which I’ve since discovered is due to Time Code Errors. They make VHS players that have this fixing built in, but as you can imagine I can’t easily go to a store and buy players like I used to. 3) several tapes are damaged. Either due to being thrown on the ground outside when my grandmother’s house caught fire, or being in a damp basement.

The way to fix all of these issues is mostly due to spending more money on the project. A new VHS player with Time Code correction, new set of 2TB hard drives, and taking the time to sort the remaining tapes to repair. I envision this day where I can call upon all of the old VHS tapes at will, having a searchable index and such.. of course now I still have the meticulous notes on tapes that I took, this was in my younger days when it was quite important to be able to sort through things. I have a few notebooks with pages about what is on each tape, either made by myself or my grandparents. I plan to scan these books and someday combine them with the tapes to create a database (or pay someone to do this).

Scanning documents has been made INCREDIBLY easy due to my Fuji ScanSnap S510M. A high speed scanner that I can feed sheets through and it scans both sides at the same time. I think I bought it for $400 or so at Costco years ago, and it has paid for itself SEVERAL times over. I have a few THOUSAND documents scanned with this. What are all these papers and such you ask? Old school homework, old mail, and for a time I thought it was interesting to see what I was spending my cash on, so old bank statements and such.

Now that I went through boxes and boxes of old stuff and either scanned and shredded or tossed in the trash, I’ve entered this phase where I have a mix of items. Sometimes there are a stack of papers of ‘normal sized’ paper that I can stick in my scanner. Sometimes there are NEWSPAPERS that I’d love to have a PDF of, for reasons unknown.. I guess because there are things that I know I can’t easily get again– mostly information that may be scattered on the pages. Fortunately I have my camera to photograph these pages, but as you can imagine it takes up large amounts of digital space, and SUPER time consuming. Sometimes there are old birthday cards and such that I don’t ‘need’ to have, but they remind me of people who are gone or only were a friend for brief time (and not everyone is on Facebook). Then there are old Boy Scout documents, papers from my experience in Walt Disney World in Florida in the Fall of 2000. Assorted memorabilia and t-shirts that I don’t necessarily want, but I’d like to at least have a picture of.

Thus begins this current time, where I am on the cusp of making major headway… since I started this processing project I’ve whittled down my collection of boxes and today there are only about 16. Of the remaining stuff are smaller collections. There is a box of patches from my Boy Scout days that I plan on scanning on a flatbed scanner and trying to sell, or end up sending out as Geocaching tradables. I’ve gone through my Boy Scout box and Florida box and set aside the things I’d like to keep (like uniforms and such), or my documents of congratulations for becoming an Eagle Scout. The rest of the papers and memorabilia are ready to be scanned or photographed then sold or tossed.

Last night I used an iPhone app called BooksApp to catalog all my printed books. The app is amazing by the way I could easily scan the barcode and it knew what book it was! There were only a handful I had to type in myself. I used the free version, but I’ll definitely be paying the $4 to upgrade so I can export my list. A friend of mine gave me his collection of plays, and now I finally have a list! I was also able to get rid of three boxes and instead put the books on a bookshelf.. can you imagine?

The other remaining projects are my various collections. That’ll be fun (said in a sarcastic tone). I’ll have to decide which collections stay in my life, and which are sold, tossed or given away. I’ll get to decide which are worth cataloging and which items to purge from my life. I know that is dramatic, but the emotional attachments to old toys and items from my past can be draining. My parents never moved when I was younger so I didn’t have to do all this in my youth. Now that I’m in my 30s it can be difficult to sort through these old items from my younger days, a youthful life mentality and reminders of paths I’ve chosen in life.

I used to collect lots of various things and, as I’ve written before, such collections have turned out to be mostly larger baggage. Now that anyone can buy something on the internet, items don’t command such a premium anymore. I know I’m ready to make space for blessings in my life. This “I’ll just sell my things to make money” mentality is nearing it’s end as ideals are shattered on how much things are worth of mine to other people.

I’m ready though. The final goal is to have a digital collection if I ever want to look back, yet minimize the ‘stuff’ that surrounds me. I look forward to the days when I am not sifting so much or spending too much time ‘organizing’ things that aren’t really that important in my life. All the acting books I have won’t ‘make’ me a better actor. That comes from experience (of which percentage of my life I’m doing less and less as the years go on). All the memories, which are nice, are only part of the sum of my life which has yet to be written.

I can remember that each day is important, and the time is now. There are so many wonderful things to do in this world, and I want to get up and do some of these things! If money is a ‘problem’ I can remember that God will provide.

Start.

Minimalism

Friday, November 12th, 2010

I love the unclutter.com website. They do a really neat thing which is to reflect on posts made a year ago. Here’s one that caught my eye:

http://unclutterer.com/2009/11/09/the-fictional-extreme-minimalist-future/

Which led me to read the fascinating comments which then led to Bill Barry’s blog:

http://18263dayslater.blogspot.com/2009/11/re-fictional-extreme-minimalist-future.html

This fellow makes some EXCELLENT points! When I was a lot younger, I kept things around for sentimental reasons. I kept collections, all of my toys and more.

When my grandmother’s house caught fire a few years ago, she was worried for all of my stuff that was in her attic. She knew my long history of what was important to me.. all those toys and memorabilia. These past couple of years I’ve come to realize that these objects are more hassle than worth. I’ve repeated the idea that a photo can do just as good as a job so much that it has become my thought process.

I still do keep things around… digitally. Last year I scanned boxes and boxes of old papers. Why? Because I didn’t want to part with them… my old thoughts and dreams… my old to do lists and plans… that is what I consider to be me.

I embrace the storytelling. I write and write and write my thoughts out. I record audio or video journals on occasion. These are the important things to me.

I’m glad for computing, otherwise I’d be like the professor in the play PROOF, with hundreds of notebooks filled with nonsense. There are many old to dos and ideas that I’ve shunned, or have lost interest in. There are many things I no longer tie myself to… but yet I still can’t part with them. I value most thoughts I have had, and even though after I die no one may sit and read it all, I always hope that some gem of an idea I had will make someone else’s life easier.

I like Bill’s comments on where our society is going and what is lost. Although people still LOVE taking photos and videos of themselves, we still do buy-buy-buy stuff to help us remember. [on an off topic, I once read an article about how the new thing is 25, 10 year reflections… for some reason we want to reflect on anniversaries… ALL THE TIME]

This got me thinking about making a segment for my kids show talking about sentimentality. I think stories and communicating with my friends and family is SUPER important, yet these moments, especially with my family, are in the distant past. I wonder what way I could showcase a ‘better’ way to communicate to one another. Email, Facebook and Twitter HAVE replaced letter writing. Yet, there’s some statistic out there about how kids create and abandon accounts with ease. I know this to be true because my little brother (14 yrs) created a ‘new’ facebook account and let the old one fall by the wayside. Does he no longer value his tech history? Or am I too attached to old stream-of-consciousness thoughts of ages past.

Fascinating stuff to think about.

I just moved all of my digital history into a locked disk image on my computer. That way, if my computer was ever lost they wouldn’t have access to all those old thoughts and experiences.

Oh, another side note. A few days ago John commented that he likes the two spaces after every period at the end of a sentence. For reasons of efficiency, I only use one space. Now, two spaces looks weird. See?

I also will sometimes use only two ellipsis.. when I’m separating thoughts. Three… seems a little long sometimes.

Okay, back to the topic-

So texting is the new form of communication and I still have old, old texts from past phones hanging out in that disk image.. well, at least the ones that didn’t get corrupted throughout the shuffling back and forth among drives. Plus my email account takes forever (more than 2 seconds) to search through because it goes back to 2004!

My digital life has become uber cluttered. I don’t feel like I have to sort it out now, but fortunately I can usually search for my ideas within a few minutes. However, my physical surroundings suffer because I don’t get rid of those things I truly don’t need anymore.

Next week sometime, I’ll continue purging old stuff. I’ve actually gotten rid of a LOT of things since my return from Spain, but now that I’m ramping up my stuff for production, another cleansing is needed.

Once I start making some money, I hope to purchase a really nice closet or something for all the costumes and such I’m accumulating. Those plastic bins aren’t doing it for me anymore. Every time I need something I end up throwing stuff on my floor. Then later I have to come back and put it all away. It gets old really quickly.

Fixing Problems

Saturday, May 2nd, 2009

One of my strengths is “Restorative”. I like to fix things.

I also am a “Learner” and related to this is the desire to share what I’ve found with others. But how does one share the progress of a set of problems, their progress, and then their solutions?

A website.. of some kind.

I tried using my blog for this.. but then I get myself all confused when I try to use tagging as a sorting feature. I start to think about the organizing I have to do first and what type of tag I might remember later.. and I give up trying to capture that idea.

Currently I have my 100 projects. These are pages, and I made them so they auto-update the date, but then there is no ‘sub-update’ of each little thing and I have to type them in myself with a date. Also, I have to basically hand-type these little codes to myself so I can find them easier. There has GOT to be an easier way!

But having ALL of my stuff in my blog makes it look REALLY messy and then I forget the process I’ve created for organizing and sorting all those problems.

Now this is a problem.

My options?
-create a new blog that ONLY deals with the 100 issues. Then I could have an RSS feed come off from there and show the progress
-join a website that offers similar things.. then I’d be in a community and not have to re-invent the wheel.. but then I’d have to change my process to whatever they already have set up (43things.com comes to mind)
-a wiki of some sort would show every update on a subject, but it too might get a little messy.

I also want to have flexibility to have access to it on my macbook, online and locally on my iPhone. Having a webpage would take care of the first two, and I’d just have to deal with the times I need to access the content or edit it when I’m underground on the metro.

Sometimes my ‘problems’ I discover relate to each other. Computer program, website and iPhone apps are all related in that they deal with how I organize my technology. It might be nice to have a way to see those as a group. This is not as important though.

In a way this is me trying to be very scientific about things. I want to list my progress and solutions so I can look back and see my ‘accomplished’ projects (so I don’t get frustrated at the never ending ‘to do’ items.

Currently, when I use THINGS on the mac and iPhone, my old to dos vanish. Then I have to keep a separate ‘resource’ folder that has those solutions I have found.

Also too it gets my normal chores and to dos all mixed up with my more complicated projects that I’m working on. Also getting even more crossover with my desires-wants-wishlists on how I’d like my life experience to be.

*whew* this feels long winded, but someday I’ll be glad that I captured all these current frustrations. And I CAN’T be alone with this! Sometimes it feels like it. Lists seem like such an obvious way to identify the next steps to accomplish a goal, and not having them seems like it would all have to stay in my brain. I’d like to think up new stuff rather than brew on the same processess all the time. I think I’d get stagnent and set in my way of thinking. Then it would be difficult to change becasue whatever process I had been brewing on would be a habit and I wouldn’t remember what I had or hadn’t tried in the past and I’d end up duplicating those same mistakes. Then my life time would be wasted on the same fruitless processes.

Anyway. I’m going to do some timeboxing as I might let the wee hours slip away and currently I think I can use this time most efficiently to lay out my plan for this week/month/year/life.

–now to figure out how to write up problems and systematically solve them– (because a blog is too messy with tags)

Lists, processes, organizing, thoughts

Friday, March 13th, 2009

So I’ve been trying to clear out all this mental clutter that takes up a lot of my energy. I want to easily be able to share some of the processes and thoughts I’ve come up with over the years. The hardest part is showing how they have overlapped and evolved.

My website used to be the only place for this. I would handcode a page and not worry about things like formatting and layout. This was a VERY tedious way of doing things. I had the time back in early college. I don’t have that luxury now that I’m working all the time to eat and pay rent.

Then I used to post on livejournal. They were bought and sold so often I didn’t trust them, so I took the jump to wordpress. Which opened up all possibilities and all sorts of troubleshooting to get things the exact way I wanted them.

I’ve been trying to make the job of updating easier on myself, but it has gotten so complicated! A blog post gets lost so easily- so I’m trying to make pages now.

But I don’t have an easy way to post each new page on hmatt.com. I would rather have a page to point to or something, but I rather like the new collapsible sidebar I created. That I have to handcode though! = (

Now that some of my pages are updated in iWeb, I find it to be such a hassle to update and reload to my ftp (iWeb 09 does this, but their filestructure is SO strange and messes up the way things should look.

A lot of my pages are similar in nature. And although I could make one large page, I’m opting to link all similar pages together by hand. I set up my posts to do this automatically by using tags, but pages are supposed to be more finalized than the fleeting thoughts of a post.

Anyway, I gather there are very few people out there who find this interesting- but you never know! I know I’ve written these things time and again.. but there is the trouble of posts. I can’t remember when I said them or want to take the time to sift through it all to find and link back to this post.

I wish there was a single link for my pages… but until I find it it is all seen on any of my blog pages

hmatt.com/blog

finder list

Friday, February 6th, 2009

I know that I can copy a list of folders or files in finder and then paste them into a text only TEXTEDIT doc, or apparently as “Paste and Match Style” in Pages.

However, I want to be able to have a list of my folders and what I intend to keep in them. I’m wasting a lot of time trying to find what I’m looking for on my computer. There are so many programs and tools to write things I frequently misplace them.

Hmm. Someone must have a program out there that puts files in an outline and drop-down type of list.. if not someone should create it.

Stickies vs Textedit vs Text clipping

Tuesday, January 13th, 2009

I used to be such a textedit user. I changed its preferences so it so it would always deal with plain text (so it could go to any device or website). But then I got sick of having to save it all the time. Even though I could use TextExpander to put in the date, I didn’t like having to constantly put the files away someplace.

Stickies don’t allow me to scroll as there are no sidebars. I have to use my arrow keys all the time. Also, as far as I know it can’t auto show a date (the information is somewhere though because I can hover over the windows and they’ll list creation date etc.

Textclips can’t be seen with quicklook, but I used to use them to drag the text out of a textedit document to avoid the trouble of saving it.

I’ve really come to like stickies though. I do wish they would sync with mobileme though.

Post Vs Page

Saturday, January 10th, 2009

Page
-static, easier to direct people where to go
-easier to update afterward, have a full record of something
-doesn’t appear on my rss feed
– Needs to be updated separately

Post
-able to easily add and flow with thoughts
-can connect to others
-autoupdates facebook
-..but then if I mispell or need to update a page I have two places where I’m supposed to go unless I added the post to the don’t post into FB category (UN? or Twitter)
-I end up writing the same things over and over because I tagged them and tossed them out into the abyss before.

SEE http://hmatt.com/blog/post-versus-a-page/

Apple Store: Pros & Cons

Saturday, January 10th, 2009

PROS
– being around people who are up on tech news.
– I get paid to be trained on software and time to study up on new stuff
– Plus there are people like Nathaniel there. He is one of those people I can talk to about productivity/organizing files. We are both passionate about workflow & ease of use of certain programs and exploring new options to use tech to make our lives easier.

CONS
– whenever I’m at parties people always ask me about mac stuff. I don’t mind it most of the time because they are my friends and I want to help them out. However, it limits the types of conversations I have with people. It always leads back to tech and they are either for or against apple. ‘For apple’ and we align or I have to explain why probably the developers did what they did. Against apple and I have to defend the entire time. … Fortunately I’m not an apple genius so I don’t have all the super tech knowledge why things stop working so I can deflect those questions.
– I noticed earlier this year I had stopped trying to research computer stuff on my own and I’d wait to do it while at work instead… it kind of took the fun out of it. I was getting paid, but the passion went out of looking at those forums and reading about tips and tricks. That happens to every profession though. I can imagine acting being like that.
– most important CON is that I am too busy full-time to pursue acting. WHAT! Crazy talk right!? But I’m always so exhausted from thinking at work and especially having to wake up early to ride the metro. Sure I could try to transfer to another store.. but I need to address my other passions in life aside from tech. Even then there is no way I can remain full time and try to get auditions.

I do like working there, but man.. you know how some days at work get. Plus I’ve been down because I feel so stuck. I want to make this year different- major positive change.