Handmade CD envelopes!

I love nice boxed sets of CDs. For years I’ve been enjoying a Miles Davis boxed set. Recently I thought I’d expand my library of jazz trumpet artists, and purchased two boxed sets from Amazon: one of Clark Terry’s albums (1954-1960) and one of all of Clifford Brown’s recordings. They play very nicely in my retro Electrohome record player. Because I’m focusing on musicians from the 1950s, the record player (which also plays CDs) adds a certain something to the listening experience.

But when the new boxed sets arrive I was disappointed with the physical product. The cardboard box was too flimsy to use, there were no CD envelopes, and the plastic boxes holding the CDs broke immediately on opening. Even the listing of tracks was flawed, with typos and inconsistencies in the way song durations were notated.

So I made my own CD envelopes. Using InDesign, I created a die and a template for envelopes. I found jpegs of album covers on the Internet, and printed the envelopes on card stock with my laser printer. The results are awesome!

I still don’t have a box for these envelopes, but perhaps I’ll investigate box-making as a separate project.

Tuesday. The last Tuesday report?

I’ve moved all of the relevant documents for the “Musical Gifts” project over to a secret facebook group, where people who might enjoy participating in that project can stay apprised of my progress. If anyone who may be reading this wants to join that group and wonders if they may, the answer will be an unqualified “yes”–just e-mail me (ian@bluesmarties.com). Then facebook friend me, and I’ll add you.

I will leave those documents currently posted on the Musical Gifts page ON that page. But I’ll add any new documents to the facebook page.

I normally scoff at articles like these but today I approve.

How to do the most work in the shortest time | Mark McCartney | Opinion

Here are eight rules to help you get the most done in the shortest time:

1. Disappear

Lock yourself in a room away from distractions and focus fully on one task at a time. Sounds dead simple, but try it. If you multitask a lot, you will find this especially painful. And research shows, interestingly, that those who multitask the most are in fact the worst at multitasking.

2. Don’t fight distraction

Those who get more done quickly don’t fight distractions – we can’t. Rather, they work in short bursts, with high levels of focused attention, so that they benefit from the satisfaction of making headway on one important project at a time. They know they have been successful when they can answer a simple question: “What did I get finished today that was important to me and the organisation I work for?”

3. Simplify

As Laozi said: “To attain knowledge, add things every day. To attain wisdom, remove things every day.” So what can you stop doing? Habits drive us to continue doing tasks that don’t need doing. Try not to take on more tasks without first asking: “Why is this really important?” Often we say yes before even making a conscious choice. What can you simplify? Reduce emails and reports to the bare minimum. Enforcing brevity saves time for everyone.

4. Find your rhythm

Do thinking work in the morning. It’s tempting to clear out emails so you feel on top of things, but you will not look back when you are in your 70s and say: “God, I was proud of keeping my inbox to zero.” Instead spend the first 60 minutes of your day on the one or two really important tasks you need to get done. It even helps to write them down the night before – this sets clear intentions, which the brain likes as it can focus on what is in its control.

5. Strengthen

How much of your day is spent doing things you are not good at? You will get through much more work more quickly if you actively arrange your role so you can focus on what you are good at and, even better, practise getting even better at what you are good it. Does Usain Bolt run half-marathons?

6. Watch the robots

Be careful about trying to get too efficient. Robots are efficient, and they are taking jobs and transforming industries. It is better to focus on being effective, for example working on the most important task – which requires you to think and be creative.

7. Be honest

It’s often our own deeply entrenched habits that stop us from getting more done more quickly. If you find yourself regularly sitting in long, poorly run meetings, or if you constantly switch from one task to another, then you are likely to struggle in the 21st-century workplace, which is currently going through huge change.

8. Avoid articles like this

It’s easy to turn to self-help books when you consider the basic paradox: you won’t ever do all the things you need or want to do in your allotted time. But if you stop reading this and get to work, that might be a good start.

How to do the most work in the shortest time | Mark McCartney | Opinion | The Guardian

effective use of down time

IMG_20160527_111409Sometimes it takes a “cold day” when you’re recuperating from a rhinovirus to make you realize there’s something you’ve been meaning to do–really must do–but which you’ve been forgetting about in the hustle and bustle of daily life.

Time to get some traction

Time to get a handle on some personal projects, new and ongoing. Thanks to a recent course I took at BCIT in Systems Analysis, I have a licensed copy of the project management application “Microsoft Office Project 2007,” which is a great application for managing projects. I may use it for some of my own little projects. Here’s a list:

  1. Finish my ASD from BCIT
  2. Better organize the brass tubes website’s music library
  3. Fill out chrom.ca with more resources
  4. build a database management system (DBMS) for my wine making activities
  5. The Hymn Project
  6. Music ed. program at Redeemer (confirm buy-in from some key stakeholders)
  7. Plan the October wine-making event
  8. Plan the summer wine-making event
  9. Summer Brass at Redeemer/Father’s Day?
  10. Pender Island Cottage project
  11. Design and build the 21st Century Organ
  12. a new fundraising DBMS for mi
  13. mi board role definition project
  14. Redeemer 2013 centenary project
  15. Intelligence Augmentation: lifelines
  16. Intelligence Augmentation: smart dog collar
  17. Intelligence Augmentation: choral plugin
  18. Social Networking: musicians’ hookup
  19. Restore airstream
  20. Summer picnic for friends