Archive for the ‘GTD’ Category

Getting yourself organised for SXSW 2010

Monday, January 25th, 2010

So the broad strokes are now in place. This weekend I booked my flights to Austin and South by Southwest 2010 (and added a few days in San Francisco and The Valley – get in touch if you want to ‘do coffee’); the hotel room was reserved as I left Austin last year (forward planning, got to love it); and the Platinum pass was sorted in November.

Now it gets interesting though, because it’s time to plan out and organise my time at SXSW. More than any other conference, SXSW Interactive is incredibly busy, with multiple and concurrent official sessions going on during the day, along with fringe events, various blogger lounges and a packed exhibition floor. And it doesn’t stop at the Convention Centre, because the evening is packed with events, meet n greets, parties, barbecues, award ceremonies and the occasional secret celebration (hint, it’s likely to be called 64-bit).

Add in the same mass of events from SXSW Film and SXSW Music and you have a jigsaw of planning that’s like a ten thousand piece picture of a herd of zebras.

Some planning is needed to make sure that you get the most from your time at SXSW. And that starts with working out what goal is in attending the event. If it’s simply to socialise and meet new people, that’s fine, just be aware of it. An if it’s more in-depth, that works as well.

I’d suggest that rather than do all this on the latest gee-whizz bit of tech you go for a paper and pencil approach. I’m a big Filofax user and you could go pick yourself up a nice one from the UK during the current sale (try the Metropol at £14 in Filofax’s current 40% off Sale), but you’ll get just as much practical benefit from a new Moleskinie Notebook.

The main benefit of any paper system is that it’s always with you no matter what computer you are on, it’s easily referenced while at the Conference, and it takes but a moment to note down something while on the run in Austin.

No matter what medium you choose, here’s how I would recommend splitting the sections down.

Filofax at SXSW

Daily Diary

Each day is spread over two pages that face each other. On the left hand side I note down the time and location of every major party or event that I come across in the weeks leading up to SXSW. Come the night, I have a relatively full list of parties and events and can choose then where I’ll be heading that night. It’s also great to be able to answer the question “what’s on tonight"?” which invariably gets asked a lot.

The right hand side is more personal. The top of the page has my actual appointments through the day, sessions I want to attend and any must go to events are noted here. The bottom of the page is a mix of sessions I’d like to go to and notes that are specific to that day (e.g. contact number of the restaurant where I might be running an event).

Things of Interest

As well as noting down the events and seminars, it’s worth remembering just how large SXSW is, and that not everything is going to be in the official program or on an Upcoming page. Set some pages aside after the diary pages for “things of interest.” I split them into Interactive, Film and Music, and again over two facing pages. Fill these in with half an eye on your personal goals for SXSW and you’ll have a ready made checklist when you’re left wondering what to do next.

People to See

Or as the Customs Officer might describe it, the stalking page. Who do you want to meet at SXSW? Who have you passed by on Twitter saying that you should hook up in Austin? And do you think you can remember every single name without a little bit of help? That’s what I use this page for – I’m never likely to win any memory contests, so I’ve no shame in getting them down on paper.

To Do List

My Filofax is set up to use the regular diary pages as a dated To-Do list, and this continues during SXSW, although it tends to be the more personal things on this page, like blog post deadlines and work that needs to be done.


If you’re using a moleskine or other notebook, then the rest of the pages are going to be your notebook for the conference. At the end of it all, you’ll have all your experiences from before, during and after SXSW in one handy book for the shelf. My yearly storage folders for Filofax pages

Other Pages

I have two more pages I use in my Filofax at SXSW. The first is a simple expenses page so I can see what I’m spending – the ability to check back on previous years is helpful when setting a budget, and I have a second custom page which is a fold out timetable blocking out my time on an hourly basis for a much faster overview of my plans.


So now you have a tool to help you make the most of SXSW. I’d recommend that you keep this close to your work computer, and just write in anything you find online about SXSW that feels important to you. Once you land in Austin, you’ll find that your time goes by so very quickly and you’ll be glad you’ve done some planning of things to see and do, while still retaining more than enough slack for the spontaneity that makes this one of the premier conferences in the year.

The Filofax Beauty Gift Pack

Tuesday, December 29th, 2009

Just before Christmas the Filofax team let me have a look at their latest addition to their range – the Filofax Beauty Gift Pack.

Following on from their first adventures in ‘bundling’ with the Lifestyle Packs, I wondered if they would continue this line of thinking and create more appropriate bundles. The Beauty Gift pack is the next step.

Sporting a personal sized Domino Filofax; a filofax page sized mirror, and a ‘James Bond’ pen with a perfume atomiser hidden in the cap for a quick spray during the day; it’s clear that this pack is aimed at a certain segment of the population.

There’s nothing wrong in this approach, and to be honest I think that’ it’s the right way to go about building up the brand of Filofax in the 21st Century. Build up small pockets of support in new areas, and expand them out as the company grows. Filofax has moved on from the yuppie era of the 1980’s.

The key to the marketing of the Gift Pack is the enclosed voucher for a beauty Session at various locations around the UK. I’m going to pass this on to someone else, partly because I don’t think a beauty session would make a dent on me. It’s also not supplied by Filofax themselves, so they’ve little control over the final product (but they have put their name to it, so it does count).

Again it’s the combined pack of voucher (to tempt), the mirror and the customised pen (to enhance the targeting), and finally a choice of style of Domino Filofax (art deco print, snakeskin or shocking pink) to seal the deal with the customer.

Of course the core product is one I’m familiar with – a Filofax – and I know how useful and versatile they can be. From a personal point of view, the more of them in the hands of the public, the better! With a reviewers hat on, this is a great package even without the addition of a manicure, hair styling or other treat. You get the fashionable hit at the start, and the continuing reward of organisation (maybe) into the New Year.

The question now is how are Filofax going to address the more masculine side of the market in 2010, and how innovative will they be? I’m looking forward to finding out.

Filofax Gift Box Filofax in the UK are currently offering the pack for just £30, and their end of year sale has a store wide discount of up to 30% on other goods.

Cross posted from The Daily Dust

A Little Bit of GTD Tech For The Weekend?

Sunday, April 12th, 2009

Over on All About Symbian, I’ve posted an article that talks about how I use GTD with the modern S60 smartphone. This was a question I was asked thanks to the 5800 video diary series that is now addressed in a full article.

The short answer is, I don’t. The S60 derived phones have an absolutely hopeless To-Do/List system in the calendaring application, and the regular calendar/agenda functions are poor at best.

As readers here (and party go-ers in SXSW) will know, I’m a big Filofax fan.


It’s disappointing when paper and pencil outgun silicon, and it’s made even more disappointing when you realise that in the Psion Series 3’s and 5’s, Symbian OS (then labelled EPOC) had the best Agenda application in the world.

The full dissection with a lively debate in the comments, can be found here.

No Bankrupcy Required – Gmail Inbox Cleared

Thursday, August 23rd, 2007

Just one of those little things, but a solid hour tonight cleared / archived / deleted / dealt with all my outstanding email.

An Empty Gmail (but 92% full)

If you;re expecting something from me, then either I’ve just replied, or you’ve been added to the To-Do list in my Filofax (yes, me! Paper! More on that later), or you’ve been nuked as I slipped in my ruthless purge. So feel free to email me back.