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Podcast 32: The Bigger (8x11) Picture

Posted: Wed Dec 19, 2007 2:03 pm
by reinhard

Posted: Tue Jan 08, 2008 3:03 am
by terceiro
I believe, Reinhard, that you owe us some pictures of your Bigger Picture. Some of us (namely me) are waiting expectantly (but patiently). You mentioned wanting to obfuscate any personal information, so consider yourself as having received a friendly nudge.

Posted: Tue Jan 08, 2008 2:22 pm
by reinhard
Thanks for the nudge! My prioritization system is very nudge based, so it helps.

I have two presentations I'm scrambling to prepare for tomorrow, but as soon as those are done I'll post a sample Bigger Picture.


Posted: Tue Jan 08, 2008 5:48 pm
by reinhard
OK, here's a pdf of my current big picture (with only slight redactions): ... -01-08.pdf

I'll post a scanned image of what this looks like after a weeks worth or scribbles.

At some point I'll post the first big picture I ever did too, to show how this evolved.


Posted: Tue Jan 08, 2008 8:37 pm
by kccc
Thanks! I was wanting to see that too.


Posted: Tue Jan 08, 2008 9:08 pm
by Murphysraven
Wow, that looks all so complicated!

I moved from using index cards to a small journal, just because it fits me better. I feel like a 1st grader compaired to you in terms of tasks and goals. :wink:

great example though!

Posted: Wed Jan 09, 2008 2:23 pm
by bonnieUK
Cool Reinhard, I like this! I think I'll try something like this for me.

For the last few years I’ve been keeping a weekly overview list in a word document just for work which literally revolutionized my efficiency (at work only though!). It basically contains a list for each day that I put all my tasks on with details of the deadline. I then check off when done or carry over to the next day. I also track how many tasks I do and how many I carry over each day. At the very bottom of the page I also have a list of long term projects and recurring tasks with their due dates just as a reminder. I have this document open all day and constantly check and update it (using my list involves a lot of scrolling, but at least I have the comfort of knowing everything is in one document). I always add jobs to the list – even small ad hoc things that I do as soon as someone asks me (in which case I still add it and check it off). My motivator for always doing this is that I’m accountable to many different people and need an easy reference if someone follows up with me on something they asked me to do before (I can now tell them exactly when I did it rather than relying on memory and guess work!).

Strangely though I’ve not yet been able to replicate this in my personal life, probably because in my personal life I’m generally accountable only to myself and my husband, and I know that my husband won’t fire me if his sock drawer is empty :D It’s probably also because I’ve never developed a good system that works for my personal life.

I have a pocket diary which I use for daily tasks (it fits about 5-6 tasks per day) but I too find that while it helps me remember to do day-to-day things, I frequently lose sight of bigger picture stuff.

In summary – I think I’ll give your big picture thing a shot (in conjunction with my pocket diary) and see how that works! :)

Posted: Thu Jan 10, 2008 3:15 pm
by reinhard
Wow, that looks all so complicated!
Yeah, I guess it does... but it took a few months to get to that level. My first version, which I'll try to dig up and post today, was a very simple mess of boxes. A lot less "data", and a lot less organized. Every week I got more ideas for tasks I wanted to get out of my head and had to impose some extra organization to fit it all in in an intelligible way. Sometimes I'd think of a new way of organizing that seemed good, but turned out not to be worth it, and I'd give it up after a week or two.
For the last few years I’ve been keeping a weekly overview list in a word document just for work which literally revolutionized my efficiency (at work only though!) [...] Strangely though I’ve not yet been able to replicate this in my personal life
The fact that EVERYTHING I worry about is in one place is a huge benefit. It might mean a very full sheet of paper, but it's profoundly relaxing to know that this is IT, there's nothing else I need to worry about. I learned the power of keeping everything in one place from the daily index cards, and it's just as true on the big picture scale.


Posted: Thu Jan 10, 2008 3:34 pm
by kccc
My "everything" list is in my PDA, subdivided by categories that are like your box headings for ease of scanning.

Looking at the list itself is the equivalent of your paper. I like being able to attach notes/"Next Steps"/thoughts, and add dates.

But I actually think there's value in one page, and even in regular re-writing. It makes you review, which makes you attend to what's on there, be selective, etc.

On a similar note.... My husband and I have "geek dates" about once a month. We go out to lunch together at a favorite place, bring our calendars, and coordinate while we're waiting for our food to arrive - "beaming" dates back and forth.

When we do that, I invariably remember stuff I need to do - make a hotel reservation for that trip, move that dental appointment, organize a babysitter for that one night. Plus, we can talk about scheduling joint things like family activities. We actually don't want to move to a shared electronic calendar (like Google) because that discussion time is so valuable.

Posted: Fri Jan 11, 2008 3:46 pm
by bonnieUK
This week has been full of reasons to implement something like this, and keep it up-to-date with impending deadlines, for example while I've been doing day-to-day stuff on my lists as usual, yesterday I forgot to renew my car insurance (luckily my husband remembered and did it for me :)) and recently I've had lots of instances of forgetting things like that doh! Sadly my brain is nothing like an Outlook Calendar and doesn't provide me with automatic reminders :D

Posted: Sun Mar 23, 2008 8:06 pm
by Terhorst
reinhard wrote:My first version, which I'll try to dig up and post today...
I'm sure I'm not the only one who would like to see that. *nudge* :D

Posted: Mon Mar 24, 2008 2:24 pm
by reinhard
Nudge received :-)

I'll have both my first and my latest up today.


Posted: Thu May 22, 2008 6:52 pm
by Terhorst

Code: Select all


function nudgeOMatic&#40;n&#41; &#123;
	var Reinhard = universe.getHumanByName&#40;"Reinhard Engels"&#41;;
	if &#40;Reinhard.hasPostedExample&#41; &#123;
	for &#40;var i = 0; i < n; i++&#41; &#123;
		try &#123;
		&#125; catch &#40;tooManyNudgesException&#41; &#123;
			i -= 1; // try again

	setTimeout&#40;function&#40;&#41; &#123; nudgeOMatic&#40;n*2&#41; &#125;, 86400000&#41;; // 1 day


Who knew Javascript was so versatile?

Posted: Wed May 28, 2008 2:00 pm
by reinhard
Just put it on my daily card. If I don't do it today it's a "red" on my habitcal :-)


Posted: Thu May 29, 2008 12:29 pm
by reinhard
Here's a scan of the original big picture (post scribbling): ... -08-30.jpg

And here's a more recent one: ... -05-21.jpg

Posted: Mon Jun 30, 2008 5:42 am
by Terhorst
Hey, awesome. Thank you, reinhard. =)

Posted: Mon Jan 12, 2009 3:39 pm
by reinhard
Wonder if McDonald's execs have been lurking here...
He also helped to write an internal playbook, what McDonald’s now calls its “Plan to Win,†that barely fits on a single sheet of paper — a text that is treated as sacred inside the company. It lays out where McDonald’s wants to be and how it plans to get there, all of this revolving around the “five P’sâ€: people, products, place, price and promotion.

While the five P’s smack of corny corporate speak, company officials maintain that they profoundly changed the direction of McDonald’s and have given employees — from the chief executive to the store manager — a framework for prioritizing what they do.
From: ... als&st=cse