July’s Tactical Chronograph – turn hazy into a near and clear vision

Here we go with July! If your June was a hectic getting-ready-for-what and now you have time to reflect – or if you reflected in June and now you want to get things happening in the otherwise-hazy days of July – here’s your planner.

Sign up for the Tactical Chronograph here.

See, I’ve been here before, in July. One of the reasons I started doing this project was because I was so bored of spending a week of July, as I did three years in a row, sitting in an Adirondack chair, drinking alcohol-free beer, reading books, writing, and thinking, thinking, always thinking…

“How am I going to get to there from here? Because this is not my ideal vacation, and I’m not even sure this is my ideal life. In fact, I know I can do better, but I don’t know where to start.”

The shortest, most succinct answer to that question is pick a couple of big goals, from 2 – 5. Pick 3 smaller goals that get you closer to those big goals. Then make a quick plan to start on one or two of those smaller goals.

Start. And do a little bit every day.

That’s how I came up with Life’s Battle Plan, or at least its first version (“Jane’s Creative Vision”), in the month of July.

In fact, it was just like this, back in 2012, I created the predecessor to the Tactical Chronograph – a simple monthly agenda to help you plan, do, record, and celebrate.

Here’s what one of its subscribers had to say:

This time last year, I was trying to find the perfect agenda, and settled for bullet journaling because I could personalize it. However, I think I can use more reminders and prompts, and I really love the design of your agendas. It’s really helpful for me to have todo lists and priorities brought forward for the month and for the week. Then they don’t get forgotten. I also like the habits checklist (but often forget to fill it out. At least it keeps me thinking about good habits.) Looking forward to continue using them!

– Beth Darrow

Subscribe to the Tactical Chronograph.

Start planning your month! Even if it is only filled with the beach, and walks in the woods, and concerts, and dinners with friends. (Or nothing but work and that one long weekend you hope will be epic.)

The Tactical Chronograph comes every month over my mailing list. Sign up and tick the box so you get it!

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June’s Tactical Chronograph: the desire for something new.

Now that it’s summer, are you really valuing your time, and do you desire something new?

Summer sometimes brings about change. Even just a change in context, or a change in scene, can throw you off – or make you realize you want something more.  We all yearn to be fulfilled, and that’s a thing that change delivers. And you have that opportunity in view.

What better time than now to do a little reflection? There was probably a lot that you wanted to do with this year, and it’s not even half over. How about start off anew, with a little technology detox? We all need that, from time to time… And the Tactical Chronograph helps you do that.

One of the busy weeks in June

The Tactical Chronograph is decidedly not another app for your phone. It’s using tech you’ve had around since Mrs. Reynolds taught you how to do your ABCs with a giant pencil and four-ruled paper. It’s a paper agenda that works with your digital habits.

It works precisely because it’s not trying to reinvent them. Your calendars and alerts are highly functional reminders of what you’ll be able to jot down in context, here.

Here’s where you capture the loose thoughts of the day, from ideas, to observations, to meeting a new person, to various to-dos.  It gives you a view of what’s coming in the next day or three, without it being everything you’ve done/have to do eventually. It gives you space to reflect and truly prioritize.

Dodge the overwhelm. Stick to what’s doable this week. Appreciate the moment. And start something new.

To get it, you need only subscribe to the email list below and check the box for the Tactical Chronograph. 

Download and start using it today:

There are more options when you sign up to the mail list such as your location, birthday, and the extra things you find interesting, but this'll get you started.

How to use the Tactical Chronograph

Assuming you use an electronic calendar for your meetings and other reminders, DON’T duplicate effort. Devices are searchable, but physical agendas are better for planning your month, week, and day. Remembering items on a physical plane, which you can refer to, actually helps you focus and add meaning.

  1. Set an alert with your phone on Sunday night to plan your week.
  2. Set an alert for every morning and/or evening, and use it for journaling, reflecting, and preparing for the day ahead.
  3. Weekdays in red type are statutory holidays in Canada or the USA. As more people subscribe from international locations, national holidays may be added, but never described. 
  4. Weekends are as important as weekdays: schedule and record your home and social projects and personal time. It’s important to see how you use it and with whom.
  5. “Today is: ” is where you write deadlines, birthdays, anniversaries, events and, if there’s room, intentions.
  6. “Pencil it in!” Use pencil for rough plans. Add appointment times after ‘:’ in the time slots. Use ink for everything that won’t or can’t be changed.
  7. Keep a micro-journal with the daily entries, record habits, and take notes.
    1. Use Habits for building habits, and the Monthly credit/accountability grid to keep track of everything else. Yes, you have to flip pages for them. That’s habit-creating as well!
    2. Use the Chronicle to remember the details of your day. Make an effort to mention new people you meet, events of the day, feelings, and specifics. Try to write in at least one thing every day!
    3. The Notes section on every page is appropriate for to-dos within reach, or pretty much anything you want. The little graphics are meant to inspire you and serve as a memory key for where you recorded anything important.
  8. If you have weeks where you don’t get your to-dos done, migrate them to the next week(s). Put them on the page spread where you’re most likely to get them done (week planning and Monday; Tuesday to Thursday, Friday and the weekend). This suggests that the big weekly To-Do list is a catch-all for fresh ideas.
  9. At month’s end, review and carry information back to your Life’s Battle Plan workbook, or forward to another Chronograph.
  10. Record every instance of magic that you create or happens to you!

The layout of the Tactical Chronograph updates every month because of shifts in the dates of the days of the week, but sometimes for something more…interesting. Every month that has space will have questions to prompt you to reflect and set an intention.

Please comment on these changes, and ideas of things that would delight you while also keeping up with as much white space as possible.

There’s also room to have a different cover every month; I try to keep to a geography theme.

You can comment below, or use the Contact form to reach me. You can always email me at the address I’ve put on the back cover of the Tactical Chronograph.

Between this and your phone alarm, you’re gonna get clear and conscientious.

Quick question: do you ever feel like time’s flying by and you’re not sure you’re getting done the things you said you were gonna do? Are you making a bad habit of everything going into your phone and then putting it off or forgetting about it, or else stacking up the notes and intentions, with nothing staying top-of-mind? Is it procrastination, or is it literally too much going on?

Here’s what you’re gonna do.

Click here to order the Tactical Chronograph!

You’ll plan your month on a 2-page spread. You’re gonna set an alarm to sit down every Sunday night and plan each week ahead. You’ll jot notes and list your to-dos throughout your day. You’ll set an evening alarm to write a few words about what you did and who you saw, and outline what you’ll do tomorrow.  And that’s done -all in one place, simple, with little need to duplicate what’s on your phone.


Spazzy. Disorganized. Not top-of-game.

This is how I used to feel all the time. Once, for Christmas, a boyfriend gave me a fancy three-ring, zippable agenda, and laughed (in a good way) about my bajillion Post-it notes on the desk, computer, fridge, bathroom mirror… of course this was before the iPhone, which is where I throw most of those notes now. Not that it’s much better, but it’s good at giving you reminders.

Weeks-flying-by is also how I feel when too much is going on, or when I misallocate my attention, or some extra demand takes precedence. Sometimes, a week would go by without me using my agenda or diary. The days were full anyway, and appointments were already on my phone….But if three days passed without making note of them, “What did I do again?”

Productivity bloggers admonish us (rightly) to “plan!” and “stop multitasking!” We know that planning does save a little time, but we put off planning in favour of action. But if you’re anything like me, your tools for the day are spread out in devices, apps, and scraps of paper. Unless you’re really good at sitting down to and completing a task (and who, in this ADHD time, is?), half our work is meta-work – getting organized to get work done.

When you feel like time’s passing you by and you’re not accomplishing your own dreams… it sucks. Furthermore, it’s annoying to need to be disciplined about your own system so that it doesn’t get away on you. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a simple tool that keeps things in one place?

If any of this sounds true to you, or something else compels you to use a real, paper notebook, give this download a try. (And later, tell me why.)

Order the Chronograph at the Shop,  and make your month more intentional.

Make sure to check the box to Subscribe to the mailing list. I’ll send you a follow-up to find out how it works for you; you’ll also continue to get the download links for future Chronographs.

Introducing the Tactical Chronograph

Quick question: do you want to be 14% more effective and satisfied with how you manage your time? If your answer is yes, then I have something you should try.

Life’s Battle Plan – a big life-planning workbook I released in December – has a monthly agenda that goes along with it, but can stand alone. It was first entitled “Life’s battle plan – monthly agenda,” I thought “How awkward is that?” and started brainstorming a new name. It’s only for one short month of your life, but it’s in the month, week, and day where all your battles (your aspirations and the things that you have to do) will be fought. How will you gain ground on the things that are beating you? How will you tackle and win the things that you want to champion and forge ahead with?

With a Tactical Chronograph!  This, soldier, is a downloadable PDF you can  order in the Shop . (Or subscribe to the email list, choosing that option, and then you will get a monthly email with a link to download it.)

I’m working on making this product useful, especially for people who are facing change or taking on a new challenge that stretches them. And it’s only through having you engaged with the product that’ll eventually let me print a quality product at a price that people will be happy to pay. (For those who are digital, most of the time… I’m thinking about you, too; I have an app in mind.)

For those who like bullet journalling: try out my design by copying it into your bullet journal. As you go, by all means, adapt it to your ideal working habits. Ideal, meaning what makes it easy for you to stick to while keeping with the core parts – habits, tasks, weekly planning, daily journaling, and most importantly, keeping it all in one place!

There are two things I ask of you aside from the terms of the license (attribution, non-commercial):

  1. When ordering the Chronograph at the Shop, make sure the Subscribe box is checked for the Mailing list, so you sign up. I will be seeking feedback from you at some point, to see how well it works for you.
  2. You may adapt this work (bullet journalling, or copy-pasting certain sections of it into a document or a book), but that’s for your personal use. If you show it to someone else and they want to try it, too, share this page so others can download a copy of their own.

In fact, if you do any kind of social sharing, tag me in so I can give you credit! My social profiles are the icons below.

Thank you!

PetTinder – “Play a game, share the love, save a life.”

PetTinder! The game where you “match” with pets, or at least love them. PetTinder is a name mashup: PetFinder is a website that helps people adopt a pet. Tinder is a dating app that allows people to match for dates with a simple finger-swipe.

This game isn’t meant for your pets to date. It’s just a fun way to gaze upon cats and dogs (and bunnies and birds and reptiles) – real pets from animal shelters near you. It’s not about getting you to adopt them. You couldn’t adopt them all even if you wanted to! All you need to do is play the game, “love” with a 💜, and share them.

Collect game play badges for rewards and achievements, and follow the  leaderboard to compare your play with others.  But the real ninja skill of the game is that every time you Love a pet, you make a micro-donation to the shelter where it’s at. Because two of the problems of running an animal shelter are 

1) getting the right people to see the right pets at the right time to adopt, and

2) finding the money to keep everyone secure, fed, and healthy until then.

And this is a social game that helps us help them in any small way we can.

People who like animals and games – help make this game fun!

We’re looking for interested people to build a user community to try the app, develop it, and find ways to get it out to gamers (Millennials, their kids, their parents, and anyone else).  Want to know how to play? Read this article. 

Want to help? Sign up!

People who like getting things done: Help make this game reality!

We need marketers, graphic artists, and developers who can offer some time for this open source project on Github. We originally planned to code with React Native, but a Unity development environment presents other possibilities.  We also need back-end databases and reports. For now, it’s a labour of love that pays in beer and pizza and good feelings. The goal is to keep a low overhead to send the shelters the greatest donations possible. We need a good prototype and initial user base to persuade the first charitable beneficiary to partner with us to fund these shelters.

But we also expect it to become popular, so when it gets a lot of traction, it will need to employ the people who can actively develop it and provide support.

Are you one of these people? Sign up!

Make sure you check off PetTinder for “Projects you might like” so that you receive information pertinent to this game.

Since you’ve read this far, know this: Today, you are awesome!

There are more options when you sign up to the mail list such as your location, birthday, and the extra things you find interesting, but this'll get you started.

Bricolage Buddies – a children’s MakerSpace series

Did you grow up at a time when Home Ec and Woodshop were part of your school curriculum?

They were valuable, weren’t they? 🙂 We learned how to do things that we didn’t necessarily get to do at home; we had access to tools that made us more creative. We created memories. The can of stain that spilled on a girl’s woodworking project that turned into a nice blush she liked better than the natural wood… The squirrel note card holder that Mom kept for 30 years, and now sits on your own kitchen windowsill.

We also began to understand…

How Things Work.

The Maker movement has kicked off a bunch of MakerSpaces and HackerSpaces where adults can go take courses, or just do our own thing – being creative with tools, plastics, wood, circuitry, metal, computers, cardboard, 3D printing, textiles, even biohacking.

It’s fun! And we’d like to bring it back to the kids.

Bricolage Buddies is a series bringing kids aged 7-14 to various MakerSpaces around Montreal, to work on projects that they can then bring home.

It introduces them to the Maker community, gives them projects they can make themselves and with each other, and shows them how to use the tools to make their ideas come alive.

It’s a four-to-six-session series where every week is different. Each workshop is 2-½ hours long, so they get familiar with the space, with tool safety, and time to work.

And when the series is done, kids can re-enroll for a whole new set of projects.

Interested? Sign up now!

We are planning registration dates for the first cohort in Winter 2018. Sign up below so we can get your opinion about the things you want and need, and you’ll be the first to know when Bricolage Buddies is ready to begin.

And if you already signed up (and that’s how you came to this page), THANK YOU.

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