Starting The Year Off Creative

There is a very short period of time to make something of your photos and videos before they disappear forever onto a cheap multi-terabyte drive. That’s why I try to upload pictures immediately after (or during) a trip or vacation. Or I take limited footage and edit it into a short video. Today I spent a few hours playing with the kids on New Years Day, then spent a few hours more editing and posting it to Vimeo. I like the documentary style for filming kids.

I shot everything using my new Kodak Zi6, which is a tiny, hand-held camcorder with a built in USB arm. I edited it using iMovie on a MacBook Pro. I saved out an HD version (which is over 2.2 gigs) and a .mov version for the Apple TV and my iPhone.

Please let me know what you think.

New Year’s Day 2009 from jted on Vimeo.

Chinese New Year, New LifeFocus System 6.3beta

Well, it’s finally the Year of the Rat. I’ve been waiting 12 years for this. I want to take full advantage of the momentum and launch myself into the best year ever. Today is the first day of the rest of my life.

I have a brand new LifeFocus card made up, batch 6.3beta, and am going to test it here on this blog. Eventually I will get up and running with the help of my friends Dré Labre and Jeff Cressman. We are going to create something bigger than all of us, we hope.


So this is my new card. I’m going to see how long I can push this one, and routinize 10 things I want to get out of my life. You can see that there is a balance of health, long term, short term, monetary, and creative goals.

The purpose of any LifeFocus System is to train yourself to remember to do the things you want to do. It is NOT a to do list. It does not cover your grocery list, or tell you who to call. It simply reminds you of the things you have identified as important. And it makes you accountable to record and track your progress. Since each card is the size of a business card (3.5″x2″), I like to print 7 together, fold them into an accordion, and carry a week at a time in my wallet.

Card Components:

I called my card Year of the Rat because that’s what I wanted to call it. I was born in 1972 and every 12 years my birth is celebrated by billions of people! It’s a great ego boost. Beside the title is a little space for an avatar, a small picture that represents you. I use a little chair that I drew in design school. To me this chair represents reflection, taking a break, listening, and balance.

This is a brand-new feature for the cards, and will mean more when the online version is brought to life. They are key words that reflect the types of LifeFocus items I am attempting to routinize.

This is how many cards I have gone through. Today is day one, so it is the first card.

This is the current date. Beside it are the days of the week (or more correctly, the first letter of the days of the week) to circle for your convenience.

I like to track my sleep patterns. Other people might want to track when or how long they do certain things (like practice the violin, write, jog, etc). The timeline starts at zero (midnight) and runs a full 24 hours to midnight the next day. Today I slept from 2am to 9am. So I put a small horizontal stroke through the 2nd dot, and another stroke through the 9th dot. Then I drew a longer vertical line to connect them. Beside the timeline I write “7hrs” so I wouldn’t have to add it up later.

LifeFocus Items:
There is enough space on the card for 10 different LifeFocus items, which are marked with a light-grey chevron (<) and the number to the far right of the text field. You do not need to fill every space, but it is not advised to exceed 10. Each LifeFocus item has a few sub-components.

Multi-box: This little grey box can be used to track the following:

  1. Quantity – keep track of numbers. At the end of the day, hoe many glasses of water did you drink?
  2. Yes/No – Use an “X” or a check-mark to indicate a task was completed or accomplished.
  3. Percentages – Colour in half the box to indicate 50%, or a quarter of the box to indicate 25%

Notes (+):
This is a small space underneath the LifeFocus item to make a few notes. These will help to clarify things, give you some perspective, or just keep a (very) brief catalogue or diary of your progress.

LifeFocus Line Item:
This is the LifeFocus item itself. It is advised to write it in an ‘actionable’ fashion, in the great tradition of David Allen’s Getting Things Done. Make sure that the item begins with a verb so that you know what action to take. Follow that by an (optional) qualifier or adjective. Then a noun, or the object/goal itself. Try to be as specific as possible given the small amount of space.

Tomorrow I’ll go into a bit more detail on my LifeFocus choices, and where/how you can download your OWN set of LifeFocus System cards (6.3beta) to test along with me. I will also be moving this little LFS party to the blog, and just posting short highlights here.