Archive | April, 2010

We’re Celebrating Every Day In May!

The Calendars.com team is celebrating the idea that every day is worthy of a holiday. We obsess over calendars and the days that come with it.

Each day in May we have found either a national holiday or an annual celebration from a popular organization.

Some of the days include: Lumpy Rug Day, Plant Something Day, National Bike to Work Day, and Mother’s Day!

Check back with us each day for costumes, pictures, videos and all that proverbial jazz.

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A Simple Trick for Effective To-Do Lists

The Problem?

You come across a task on your calendar, and since you are not in the same mindset as when you scheduled it, you may forget the importance of the task and postpone it or ignore it altogether. This is an extremely easy problem to identify, but a much harder problem to correct.

Update: Ruben from the comments brought up a great point. This is most crucial for dates that are far enough into the future that you could forget the importance.

solution

A Possible Solution

Define the importance of every item on your to-do list.

Whenever you mark your calendar with a to-do item, put a small blurb about why it is important. These can include phrases that inspired you to take on the task, reasons why it is important, or anything else to jolt yourself back into the mindset surrounding that to-do item.

Remember, your past and present selves may not always have the same point of view.

problem

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What is a Tickler File?

Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Oprah, and any other successful entrepreneur has the same 24 hours in a day that we all do. One thing that most of these people have mastered is time management. We don’t all have personal assistants to keep us on our toes. Despite Tim Ferriss’ attempt to have us outsource our life, it isn’t realistic for most.

It Starts with You

No one can convince you more than yourself. Any self driven person doesn’t rely on everyone else to keep things organized and ready to go. Being both organized and passionate is a dangerous combination. Only when you have mastered both, with a hint of money management, can you put your head down and charge at the world.

What is a Tickler File?

A Tickler File is a way of remembering time-sensitive material. A physical setup revolves around a set of folders that ‘tickle’ the memory.

Tickler files were used in early twentieth century to allow lawyers to remember when they needed to renew their trademarks and copyright information.

43foldersexample

What Does 43 Folders Mean?

The popular productivity and time management blog, 43folders.com is a direct reference to the 43 folders used in the Tickler File system. The 43 folders refer to the 31 days (maximum) in a Gregorian or Julian month, and the 12 months of the year.

43folders

Receipts, birthday cards, or whatever needs to be done in a following month, is placed into the months ahead. At the beginning of each month, the user of the system would distribute the articles into the numbered days.

Say it was January…

“I know this birthday is somewhere in March.”

The user would then place the birthday card in the March folder.

On March 1st, the user would move the 31 numbered folders into the March folder, and distribute whatever needs to be done into the different days. And so on…

What are your thoughts on the Tickler System?

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Newly Designed Product Page

I’m really excited to announce our new product page. It is not the drastic change that we accomplished last year, but the beauty is in the details.

Our new product page will make it easier for you to get the information about calendar you want.

Older Product Page

screenshotoldproductpage

Screenshot is of Johnny Cash 2010

Newly Designed Product Page

screenshotnewproductpage

Screenshot is of Sleeping Beauties 2010

Some Highlights

  • Information all on one page
  • Easier to find Product ID
  • More sharing options
  • An easier to use zoom function (not visible from screenshot)
  • Product data organized more efficiently
  • Other minor aesthetic changes
  • Faster loading times
  • More to come very soon including Bazaarvoice product reviews.

What do you guys think of the update?

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2011 Calendars Begin To Arrive

This is my first year seeing the incoming shipments arrive for the following calendar year. The boxes contain our calendars for 2011. The most amazing part about this picture is that this represents only 4 of the hundreds of trucks of shipment we will receive to distribute.

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3 Sites to Organize your Book Collection

An out of control book collection leads to keeping more than you need. Use one day on the weekend to catalog your books. The sites below have made this process a piece of cake.

First, Make a Large Pile

Bring every book you have into the center of your room. It is healthy to visualize how many books you have collected throughout the years.

Then, Pick a Site

Of the sites below, pick one and run with it. They will all suffice for what you need. Don’t get hung up on choosing the tool. I have ordered them from my personal favorite down.

Google Books

Google Books gives you the extra step of cataloging. Not only can you quickly search for the books you have, but you can peek into books you may want to read in the future.

“You can flip through a few preview pages of these books, just like you’d browse them at a bookstore or library. You’ll also see links to libraries and bookstores where you can borrow or buy the book.”

Shelfari

Shelfari is unique because of the reading community. If you want to get your entire office or class on a certain site, this would be it. You can add recommendations for friends and reviews for others.

Goodreads

Goodreads is very similar to Shelfari. The one unique offering is the ability to create content surrounding a book. You can make quizzes, videos, and events surrounding specific books. They boast 3.2 million users with nearly 8.4 million books on their shelves.

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Team Spotlight: Jessica Vinklarek

Jessica Vinklarek is one of the newer members to the team. Within 48-hours of starting she jumped straight into our paid search system and started making changes for the better. She is a numbers/analytics addict and a whiz at Excel. To get her attention, we just mention the word Excel softly into the air and her ears start tingling.

What do you do at Calendars.com?
I’m the Online Marketing Manager – basically, I get the word out about Calendars on the web.

How did you get into analytics and paid search?
I took a Digital Media class in college to satisfy a course requirement. It turned out to be one of my favorite classes.  When the semester ended I got an internship to keep learning, and the rest is history.

What do you spend your free time doing?
That’s a long list!  I love to cook, take pictures, watch the Texas Longhorns, and take my dog Gravy to the park.

How many calendars are hanging in your house? Your cubicle?
House: 2
Cubicle: 5 (Not ashamed)

Favorite Calendar?
Again, cooking nerd, so I’d have to say the Kitchen Plan-It. Close second – any Greece calendar.

What is something you have done and are very proud of?
A few years ago I hiked up a mountain on the Appalachian Trail.

Ninjas or Pirates?
Do Ninja Turtles count? Because if they do, Ninjas. Definitely.

Biggest pet peeve?
Liars.

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A Look at the “Mental Calendar”

Our idea of a calendar is ingrained from early in our school years. Teachers have large, colorful calendars with monthly tear-off sheets or calendar banners that scroll across the top of the chalkboard. Some take that image and it becomes their concrete idea of time.

However, there are many people who visualize a year in a completely different way. Whether they have trained themselves to see it in a certain light, or the mind has already decided what these months will look like, they view the calendar in a seemingly odd sense.

Is it possible to combine what others innately see, and productivity, to force yourself to visualize a calendar in a more efficient way?

Calendar Synesthesia

Synesthesia is a neurological condition in which the mind mixes sensory signals. People with synesthesia, known as synesthetes, may associate numbers with a certain color, or order. They may perceive a certain smell or taste simply by looking at something, and visa versa.

Calendar Synesthesia is the unofficial/non-medical term for people who have sensory association with days, weeks, months, and years.

There is a great discussion on a ‘Mental Calendar’ at this Metafilter thread.

Examples of Mental Calendars

The following examples illustrate that people have a firm idea of how a year looks to them. The mental construct is formed, and they can pull it out of their brain at any time.

Mark Jaquith

Mark Jaquith, a WordPress developer, created a mockup of how he visualizes the months.

From his article:

When I think of “now” in a month-to-month sense, I visualize myself as standing on the appropriate month on that layout. If I think about another month, I visualize myself looking at the other month’s placeholder. So when I look at September from April, I’m standing on April, facing south.

tempus

‘Lobstermitten’

I illustrated Lobster Mitten’s idea of a mental calendar for him/her. The following comment is how one person sees time:

Mine is like the face of a clock. Jan1/New Year’s Eve is 12:00. Dec 1 is 1:00, Nov 1 is 2:00, Oct 1 is 3:00, and so on. Or sometimes I think the equinoxes are 3:00 and 9:00, and the solstices are 12:00 and 6:00.

lobstermitten

UPDATE: 5/11/2010

The following calendar is from Dana in the comments section. He describes his mental calendar as a, “3D circle tilted at about a 30 degree angle, which January 1st at the highest point. Each month of the year takes up varying amounts of space on the circle (summer months are typically bigger) and each month has a very distinct color associated with it.”

Have an example of how you see time? Leave a comment or design it yourself and I will update this page with your example.

Common Themes of Mental Calendars

Some of the common ideas that I have seen from comments are indicators that the mental calendars are not the same as ones that are constructed from paper.

January is Not the Beginning

A comment from the same Metafilter thread from above explains that linear is not always the case. InsanePenguin writes:

It’s pretty hard to explain but by my best estimation, it begins with Aug/Sept (perhaps because my birthday is in August, or the school year begins in September) and continues in monthly blocks to the right. That is, up until we hit December and January. January takes a sharp 90 degree turn straight up and continues that way… June/July and August/Sept never actually connect in my mind. I simply can’t figure out how the blocks would connect.

“The Pull”

Visualizing time as distance is reoccurring. Imagine the farthest distance being the latest month and January being right in front of you. As time passes, your mind pulls the calendar closer to you.

Colors

Sara Anne’s comment illustrates that time and colors blend.

Each month has a color: January is brown, February is pink, March is green, April is white, May is peach, June is turquoise, July is blue, August is gold, September is orange, October is black, November is gray/green, December is red.

Partial Bologna?

One of the most intriguing comments was not about those who see a solid picture, but rather the conscious forcing of an image:

gauchodaspampas notes,

Since it’s not as concrete, some of this may be biased by the fact that I’m actively trying to visualize it the way I usually do, which inevitably means that it is definitely not accurate.

Top to Bottom, Left to Right

This is how I see a calendar. Not because I mentally see it like so, but because it makes the most practical sense. It has become the easiest method to force upon myself. As below, the practical sense of top to bottom, left to right, can be taken to a new level.

Going Forward

Aaron Dragushan’s Method

When discussing time with a good friend, Aaron raised the idea that calendars, in reality, can be displayed as they are envisioned in the mind. He took the time to cut apart his calendar and paste it together in a way that worked for him.

aaron

What does your mental calendar look like? Leave a comment below!

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