Life hack tips

When you live a portfolio life, you depend on life hack. Huh?

Let’s rephrase that–when you do several things to make a living, you need all the helpful shortcuts you can get. Business, leisure, family–clever hints give you back precious time.

Here are two I developed. Use them if they help you.

I carry one calendar/notebook for client notes, appointments, and a personal journal. It’s a rollabind journal with a leather cover. (See journals I’ve made with rollabind rings). The great thing about rollabind journals is that you can take out, replace, or reposition the pages. All the holes are spaced evenly, you can punch holes in index cards, business cards, and keep them all in a big journal or several smaller ones. The disks that hold them together are all the same thickness, but of varying diameters. Small disks hold a few pages, larger disks hold a lot. Both practical and versatile, rollabind journals are the only thing I use.

When I put it in my briefcase and added a checkbook, pen, sunglasses and other take- along pieces, they would get jammed in the journal, bending the pages. The trick was to keep the journal closed.

For years, I simply snapped a ponytail holder around the journal. Not beautiful, but it worked. But I wanted a leather cover to hold the rollabind journal. MacClay leather said they’d do it. leather cover

I asked for a way to close it and showed them my design: two tubes of leather, one on the front and one on the back cover. When a pen is inserted in both of them, the cover is closed. Mac suggested using three tubes. Two would allow for pen movement and weaken the attachment over time. Three gave a firmer grip and helped the cover last longer. MacClay uses the best leather, and the book shows no wear after two years of constant use.coverclosed.jpg

The other idea is something you can make yourself. I keep my to-do list and notes from client meetings on 4X6 index cards. I also use the cards to develop ideas and keep a business plan. To keep job progress (and the to-do list) in front of me while I’m in the studio, I needed a holder. I bought a 3/4 inch diameter dowel, cut even 12-inch lengths, tied a plastic band (like rubber bands, but plastic. They last longer and don’t deteriorate in heat) around each end, and presto! A holder for the cards. When I go to a meeting, I simply pull them out. When I get back, I put cards I need to act on on the left, and ones farther down the priority list toward the right. What I need to do stays in front of me.cardholder.jpg

The racks don’t take up much space. I sanded and varnished mine, but you don’t have to go that far.

And yes, I have both one-foot and six-inch ones (for photographs or just a to-do list) for sale. A few anyway. They are sanded and varnished.

I also teach a journaling course using a rollabind journal. The next one will be in Alexandria, VA in May. After the May course, I’ll be teaching it on the Web. Let me know if you want me to notify you by sending an email to QuinnCreative [at] yahoo [dot] com and letting me know which course–in person or on the Web you prefer.
–Quinn McDonald is a certified creativity coach, seminar leader and writer. See her work at