Category Archives: monthly

Monthly review: December 2013

It’s surprisingly easy to step away from everyday life for a month. We went to the Philippines to visit family and friends. It was an memorable trip: helping cook meals for the typhoon refugees at Villamor, talking about plans with family, hanging out with friends, taking care of paperwork, attending a friend’s wedding, going on a 5-day road trip through Northern Luzon, getting lots of little IT things sorted out for my parents… It was wonderful being there for an extended period of time. It felt more like being home.

Blog posts


  1. 2013.12.01 Drawing for others and drawing for myself – note-taking versus note-making
  2. 2013.12.01 How do I see delegation fitting into my life over the next 12 months
  3. 2013.12.01 Show post-production notes
  4. 2013.12.03 2014 Changes
  5. 2013.12.10 December trip memories
  6. 2013.12.10 Neko memories
  7. 2013.12.12 Decision – HackLab
  8. 2013.12.12 Decision – Tacloban
  9. 2013.12.12 Plan – Getting started with Emacs Lisp
  10. 2013.12.12 Plan – The Lazy Person’s Guide to Saving Time with Emacs
  11. 2013.12.12 Reflections on writing process
  12. 2013.12.12 Sharing plans
  13. 2013.12.12 Writing date
  14. 2013.12.13 Dealing with feeling scattered as a writer
  15. 2013.12.14 Conflicting thoughts about delegation
  16. 2013.12.14 Where do I want to go in terms of drawing
  17. 2013.12.17 Reviewing my investment decisions in 2013
  18. 2013.12.17 Why is my barkada my barkada
  19. 2013.12.18 Projects for 2014
  20. 2013.12.18 Should I continue with gardening in 2014
  21. 2013.12.19 December routines
  22. 2013.12.20 Things to bring to the Philippines – What was hard to find in regular supermarkets
  23. 2013.12.21 Pieces wanted for time-tracking course
  24. 2013.12.21 Plans for time-tracking workshop
  25. 2013.12.21 Things to do when away in my head
  26. 2013.12.21 Transforming your time data
  27. 2013.12.24 Hands – study

Monthly review: November 2013

It was a busy month getting ready for the trip. =) Lots of drawing, though!

Blog posts


  1. 2013.11.01 How can I keep my learning focused on action
  2. 2013.11.01 How can you use mapping to learn more effectively
  3. 2013.11.01 Weekly review
  4. 2013.11.02 Creating way more value
  5. 2013.11.02 Google Helpouts Experience Report
  6. 2013.11.03 My new Google Hangouts workflow
  7. 2013.11.04 Growing my visual vocabulary
  8. 2013.11.04 Reimagining the house
  9. 2013.11.04 Revising my mornings
  10. 2013.11.05 Additional Helpout observations
  11. 2013.11.05 How does Google Helpout fit in with my goals
  12. 2013.11.05 Standard Time – Winter Time
  13. 2013.11.05 What are some of my limiting beliefs
  14. 2013.11.05 What do I want to learn on the go
  15. 2013.11.06 Helping students with study skills
  16. 2013.11.06 How do I want to respond to requests for sketchnoting
  17. 2013.11.06 Keeping track of what you want to do
  18. 2013.11.06 Make the most of lecture classes
  19. 2013.11.07 Google Helpouts – sold out
  20. 2013.11.07 House style
  21. 2013.11.07 Imagining ideal days
  22. 2013.11.07 It’s okay to talk to yourself
  23. 2013.11.07 Sketches from Beyond Words
  24. 2013.11.07 Sketches from Beyond Words, continued
  25. 2013.11.07 What would a virtual sketchnoting agency look like
  26. 2013.11.07 Why do I do consulting
  27. 2013.11.08 How to cheat when animating sketches
  28. 2013.11.08 How to feel great about your daily to-do list
  29. 2013.11.08 How would I scale up helping people learn more effectively
  30. 2013.11.08 Making the most of interruptible time
  31. 2013.11.08 Manage your energy when learning a lot in one day
  32. 2013.11.08 More garden plans for 2014
  33. 2013.11.08 Note-taking tips for meeting minutes
  34. 2013.11.08 Structure your notes for easy review
  35. 2013.11.08 Weekly review
  36. 2013.11.08 Wha twould make me feel comfortable with charging for a Helpout
  37. 2013.11.09 If I built this up as a business, what would it be like
  38. 2013.11.09 More limiting beliefs
  39. 2013.11.09 Thinking about the Awesome Foundation Toronto and sketchnoting
  40. 2013.11.09 What difference do I want to make
  41. 2013.11.09 What will I change after I reach net worth goal 2
  42. 2013.11.09 What would bigger be like
  43. 2013.11.10 Building those conversations
  44. 2013.11.10 How can people ask me good questions
  45. 2013.11.10 How do I feel about interacting with people
  46. 2013.11.10 What would I like my tribe to be like, and who do I want to grow into for them
  47. 2013.11.11 How can you make the most of your event sketches
  48. 2013.11.11 How to enrich your training with visual summaries
  49. 2013.11.11 How to look for sketchnoters and graphic recorders
  50. 2013.11.11 How to think about a book while reading it
  51. 2013.11.11 Make your paper notes more searchable (low-tech and hi-tech tips)
  52. 2013.11.11 The Art of Asking – or, How to Ask and Get What You Want – Sarah Peck
  53. 2013.11.11 What kind of visual records do you want for your event
  54. 2013.11.12 Awesome Foundation Toronto part 2
  55. 2013.11.12 Get started with bulk cooking
  56. 2013.11.12 Get started with Ledger
  57. 2013.11.12 How can I make a people katamari
  58. 2013.11.12 Introvert hibernation mode
  59. 2013.11.12 Learn how to talk with developers
  60. 2013.11.12 Learn programming faster
  61. 2013.11.12 People-drawing practice
  62. 2013.11.12 Who are in my tribe – what kinds of people do I click with
  63. 2013.11.13 How can I learn Plover Steno
  64. 2013.11.13 What do I get out of drawing
  65. 2013.11.14 Getting started with mind-mapping
  66. 2013.11.14 How can you get started with visual note-taking
  67. 2013.11.14 Integrating paper and digital notes
  68. 2013.11.14 Introvert tip – Plan your follow-ups so that you can guide the conversation
  69. 2013.11.14 Making room in my life for more fitness and strength
  70. 2013.11.14 What do I focus on when drawing visual notes
  71. 2013.11.15 Helpout Hints Hangout – page 1
  72. 2013.11.15 Helpout Hints Hangout – page 2
  73. 2013.11.15 Helpout Provider Tip – Ask for that 5-star review
  74. 2013.11.16 How Google Helpouts fit into my current master plan
  75. 2013.11.16 What am I specifically interested in learning from Helpouts
  76. 2013.11.17 Current projects and discretionary focus
  77. 2013.11.17 Google Helpouts and action focus
  78. 2013.11.17 My current strategy for building awesomeness
  79. 2013.11.17 Should I sell to people more – If so, how would you like that
  80. 2013.11.17 Thinking about podcast success
  81. 2013.11.17 Trip plans
  82. 2013.11.18 Documenting and delegating your work
  83. 2013.11.18 Helping your child study
  84. 2013.11.18 How do I feel about parents asking me if I can help their kids study
  85. 2013.11.18 How do rich media channels fit into the way I share
  86. 2013.11.18 Imagining Helpouts futures
  87. 2013.11.18 What would my ideal e-mail subscription be like
  88. 2013.11.20 Exploring the idea of advice
  89. 2013.11.20 How do you find the time to do it all
  90. 2013.11.20 More thoughts on drawing for others
  91. 2013.11.20 What would you have done differently – What did you learn and how will you do better
  92. 2013.11.21 Geek notes – automating bulk web stuff with iMacros
  93. 2013.11.21 Google Helpouts Business Strategies
  94. 2013.11.21 I’ve decided to stop caring about pen colour
  95. 2013.11.21 Not always meta
  96. 2013.11.21 Tracking personal finance
  97. 2013.11.21 What would I change if I forced myself to delegate or outsource 10 percent
  98. 2013.11.21 Why did I start this experiment with semi-retirement
  99. 2013.11.22 Career conversations – Alex
  100. 2013.11.22 Freedoms
  101. 2013.11.22 Helpers Helpout – Free and Paid
  102. 2013.11.22 Learn from online role models
  103. 2013.11.22 More thoughts on reaching people
  104. 2013.11.22 Selling your services as a student
  105. 2013.11.24 Katamari Forever
  106. 2013.11.25 How can I make my sketches easier for others to view during a Helpers Help Out show
  107. 2013.11.25 Mapping what you’re learning
  108. 2013.11.25 Organizing Evernote
  109. 2013.11.25 Thinking about tweaking my blog design
  110. 2013.11.25 What are the ways I add value – How can I replace myself
  111. 2013.11.26 Plans for 2014
  112. 2013.11.26 Sketchnote – Visual Thinkers Toronto – Mapping
  113. 2013.11.27 How can I accelerate my learning
  114. 2013.11.27 Trust and assistants
  115. 2013.11.28 Share the opportunities, create jobs
  116. 2013.11.29 BrainDoodles lesson 1 and 2
  117. 2013.11.29 BrainDoodles lesson 3 and lesson 4
  118. 2013.11.29 Building conversational connections on Twitter
  119. 2013.11.29 Fridays for podcasts
  120. 2013.11.29 Helpers Help Out 02 – Post-production notes
  121. 2013.11.29 Helpers Helpout 02 – Communicating with Clients Before and After Helpouts
  122. 2013.11.29 Learning together

Monthly review: October 2013

Last month, I wrote:

In October, I’ll focus on consulting. In my discretionary time, I’ll focus on lots of drawing and thinking. I want to build that habit of daily visual thinking, and then I’ll use that to learn even more.

And boy, did I ever! I put together a PDF of 105 thoughts from October 2013 that compiled my notes from thinking through different things, and you can see a list (including some small sketches I didn’t include in the PDF) after the blog posts below. Not only did this give me plenty of practice in visual thinking, it also helped me focus and accomplish a lot. I hammered out a pretty decent drawing workflow that made the most of my new gear. I learned a lot about learning. I tidied up. I set up better backups and did some system administration chores I’d been procrastinating. Good stuff indeed.

November is going to be busy but good. I’ve got two projects going on at work, including some animation and voice recording. (That’ll be interesting to sort out with the cats and the heater…) I need to sort out possible tooth surgery for one of our cats and take care of other pet-related matters. We’re working on decluttering and organizing the house. Lots of things going on, and I want to continue doing my daily-ish drawing habit too. Let’s see how it works out!

Blog posts

Tons of sketches! You can browse through them at or check them out using this list:


  1. 2013.10.04 Drawing and scanning morning pages
  2. 2013.10.04 Imagining the future(s)
  3. 2013.10.04 Legend of Heroes – Trails in the Sky
  4. 2013.10.04 Low energy versus high energy
  5. 2013.10.04 Weekly review
  6. 2013.10.04 What would be my ideal daily drawing setup
  7. 2013.10.05 Gardening thoughts
  8. 2013.10.05 How can I help people save time
  9. 2013.10.05 Logitech H800
  10. 2013.10.06 Consulting and focus
  11. 2013.10.06 Daily drawing – thinking on paper
  12. 2013.10.06 Possible pasts
  13. 2013.10.06 Weekend cooking
  14. 2013.10.07 Alan Kay
  15. 2013.10.07 Delegation
  16. 2013.10.07 JetPens
  17. 2013.10.07 Kinds of email
  18. 2013.10.07 Reflecting on friendships that work well and ones that need figuring out
  19. 2013.10.07 Sharing circles
  20. 2013.10.07 Sketchnote Media for thinking the unthinkable
  21. 2013.10.07 Where are my people gaps
  22. 2013.10.08 Backburner
  23. 2013.10.08 Hacklab Dinner – four courses, actually!
  24. 2013.10.09 Breaking down my visual vocabulary
  25. 2013.10.09 Cats
  26. 2013.10.09 Daily drawing updates
  27. 2013.10.09 Doodles
  28. 2013.10.09 More thoughts about delegation
  29. 2013.10.09 My passport misadventures
  30. 2013.10.09 Thinking about visual outlining
  31. 2013.10.09 What do I want to learn about learning
  32. 2013.10.10 Doodles medicine
  33. 2013.10.10 Late at night
  34. 2013.10.10 Playing with lettering
  35. 2013.10.10 Relaxing
  36. 2013.10.10 Relaxing
  37. 2013.10.10 Small paper
  38. 2013.10.10 Small paper
  39. 2013.10.11 Adjusting the speed
  40. 2013.10.11 Starting from enough
  41. 2013.10.11 Weekly review
  42. 2013.10.13 Watches
  43. 2013.10.14 Long weekends
  44. 2013.10.14 Long weekends
  45. 2013.10.14 Mapping out learning
  46. 2013.10.14 Mapping what you know
  47. 2013.10.15 Applying computer science to learning
  48. 2013.10.15 Current mapping limits and challenges
  49. 2013.10.15 Reviewing what you’ve learned
  50. 2013.10.18 Gardening notes
  51. 2013.10.18 Indexing
  52. 2013.10.18 Note-taking system
  53. 2013.10.18 Note-taking techniques
  54. 2013.10.18 Weekly review
  55. 2013.10.18 What I want to learn about gardening
  56. 2013.10.19 How to Make a Complete Map of Every Thought You Think
  57. 2013.10.20 Cooking notes
  58. 2013.10.21 Fitting multiple thoughts on a page
  59. 2013.10.21 How can I think on paper more effectively
  60. 2013.10.21 When do I pause or stop when thinking about something
  61. 2013.10.22 Different methods for (assisted) learning
  62. 2013.10.22 How can I tap the value I create
  63. 2013.10.22 My new sketching and thinking workflow, and mindmap comparisons
  64. 2013.10.22 Plenty of sleep
  65. 2013.10.22 What can I do to get more value from online courses
  66. 2013.10.22 What do I need to do in terms of system administration
  67. 2013.10.23 Evernote Fujitsu ScanSnap
  68. 2013.10.23 How can I find the right balance of thinking, learning, doing, and reviewing
  69. 2013.10.23 How to Ask Questions the Smart Way (Eric S. Raymond)
  70. 2013.10.23 Sketchnote Bullet Journal (Ryder Carroll)
  71. 2013.10.23 Thinking About Getting Better at Asking Questions
  72. 2013.10.24 Asking myself better questions
  73. 2013.10.24 Current state – backups
  74. 2013.10.24 Google Helpout
  75. 2013.10.24 Mindjet 14 vs Freeplane
  76. 2013.10.24 My processes for reviewing info
  77. 2013.10.24 Personal information architecture
  78. 2013.10.24 Quantified Self Toronto
  79. 2013.10.24 Sharing my mindmap
  80. 2013.10.24 What topics do I want to make progress in daily or weekly
  81. 2013.10.25 How I organize and publish my sketches
  82. 2013.10.25 Weekly review
  83. 2013.10.25 What do I want to do with my business
  84. 2013.10.26 Planning for the trip
  85. 2013.10.27 Time Management for System Administrators – Thomas A
  86. 2013.10.28 Deployment procedures
  87. 2013.10.28 Drawing on paper versus drawing on my computer
  88. 2013.10.28 Mindmapping chat with vitaminsludge
  89. 2013.10.28 My roadmap to becoming a better geek
  90. 2013.10.28 Setting up my development environment VMs
  91. 2013.10.28 Setting up virtual machines with Vagrant
  92. 2013.10.29 Accelerate your learning through visual thinking
  93. 2013.10.29 Bike versus subway
  94. 2013.10.29 Visual Thinkers Toronto
  95. 2013.10.30 Destructive scans – is it worth cutting apart my books
  96. 2013.10.30 How can I make the most of purchases
  97. 2013.10.30 How do I break a large topic down into small questions that I can handle
  98. 2013.10.30 Playing with style – how do I want to explore
  99. 2013.10.30 What kinds of thoughts are interesting or useful for me to explore on paper
  100. 2013.10.30 Why do I prefer bottom-up thinking to top-down thinking
  101. 2013.10.30 Why does note-taking matter to me
  102. 2013.10.30 Why does note-taking matter to me – positive
  103. 2013.10.31 How do I want to tweak four months of tilting the balance towards consulting
  104. 2013.10.31 Imagining an awesome day
  105. 2013.10.31 Possibility – Hire or partner with an extrovert to interview people
  106. 2013.10.31 Reflections on cats
  107. 2013.10.31 Understanding gaps
  108. 2013.10.31 What do I want or need to store on my backup drives
  109. 2013.10.31 What do I want to explore
  110. 2013.10.31 Why do I prefer asynchronous communication, and what can I do about it
  111. 2013.11.01 Weekly review

Monthly review: September 2013

Last month, I wrote:

I’m back to consulting on Tuesdays and Thursdays in September, with
Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays for my experiment with
semi-retirement. Let’s see if I can keep the momentum!

To accommodate some of the priorities and my clients’ plans, I ended up increasing my consulting to the equivalent of three days a week (two full days and two half-days for best responsiveness). I’ll keep the same pace in October, and then I’ll probably take off for some vacation in December. I don’t mind scaling my personal projects back a little to squeeze in some more consulting over a short period of time – I can see the value of the work I do, and I can still make time to write and draw.

September 30 was my second fiscal year end, so I spent some time thinking about how I wanted to reinvest in my business. Consulting is going well, and I want to get even better at drawing and writing. I bought a Fujitsu ScanSnap and have started using it to support a daily drawing habit, and I’ve been getting a lot of positive feedback.

In October, I’ll focus on consulting. In my discretionary time, I’ll focus on lots of drawing and thinking. I want to build that habit of daily visual thinking, and then I’ll use that to learn even more.

Here’s what I wrote about in September:

Monthly review: August 2013

Last month, I wrote:

Anyway, the rest of August will be about planning ahead, and also
squeezing the most out of this wonderful span of discretionary time.

It was great to take a month off to experiment with Proper Retirement. A contiguous block of time is qualitatively different from the same time interrupted by other commitments. I learned a lot about writing and drawing, and I can’t wait to dig into both of those skills more. In particular, outlining made a big difference in how I can structure my notes so that I can flesh them out over time. I made a lot of sketchnote lessons as a way to teach other people (and myself), too.

Also, I turned 30! =) I ended up going into introvert mode all month, which was quite restful, so I didn’t have any parties aside from the Skype party that my friends and my parents threw for me. =) That was awesome.

I’m back to consulting on Tuesdays and Thursdays in September, with Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays for my experiment with semi-retirement. Let’s see if I can keep the momentum!

Monthly review: July 2013

Last month, I wrote:

July will be about gearing up for more changes, getting better at
writing blog posts and making videos, and working on more projects
around the house. I like this. =)

No videos, but plenty of blog posts and drawings. Goodness, August is almost done. Anyway, the rest of August will be about planning ahead, and also squeezing the most out of this wonderful span of discretionary time.