Monday, November 27, 2017


M by Staples Notebook
A lot of people have planners or journals that they carry with them and I am one of those and I have finally found a planner that I like and use quite often. The planner that I use is the M by Staples Arc Customizable Durable Notebook System

Now for my planner I decided that there were some things that I wanted and I went through all the different products that there available and got the items that I wanted and then discovered that there were things that I still didn’t have. Here are the items that I purchased to help me get the planner that I wanted.
1. M by Staples Arc Expansion Discs, Black 1”
2. M by Staples Page Flags, Assorted Colours and Sizes
3. M by Staples Arc Index Dividers
4. M by Staples Arc Customizable Poly Notebook 8-1/2” x 5-1/2”
5. M by Staples Arc Pocket Dividers
My tabs
6. M by Staples Arc Task Pages
7. M by Staples Arc Hole Punch
8. M by Staples Arc Zipper Pockets
9. 1 Ream of 28 Pound white paper

What I really like about this customizable notebook system is that you can easily insert and move paper around in the notebook when you need to do that. I have actually found that just being able to move the pages around makes it so much easier for me to keep things in the section that I want them to be in. I have also found that I can have another book that I don’t carry with me with the pages that I no longer need with me all the time but I want to keep them.

So after spending some time trying to figure out what I wanted my planner to look like I started to actually customize it so that it would work for me. The index dividers are great because you can label them now you want them and they come with extra labels so you can change the label as needed.

You may have asked why I had purchased 1 Ream of 28 pound white paper and that was so that I could make some of my own pages for my planner. I found that there were some pages that were available for the bigger book but not for the smaller version so I decided that I could always make pages that I wanted using my printer and the planner would work for me. Sure other people may not like some of the pages that I have in my planner but at least with this system is is totally customizable which is what I wanted. Most of the pages that I have designed for my book were simple either word or excel sheets that I could print in booklet format. The one thing that I did do was find a two page a month calendar and after getting it as a pdf I once again printed that in the booklet format on the printer and now have a calendar for my planner.

Now with the Poly notebook I did find that there was one thing missing that I really wanted and that was a pen holder so thanks to a friend I was able to find a youtube video on how to make a pen holder out of some duct tape so that is what I have as my pen holder and it works great. The leather notebook does have a pen holder and even interior pockets so you can decide which one you want for your system.

Well now that I have a planner that makes me happy I have also purchased the bigger binder because it is something that I can take with me to meetings and it works great. I got the black leather notebook for the bigger version and that made me happy because it looks professional and also still gives me the ease of moving pages around as I need to do that. Again I have been able to print a calendar for that notebook and it fits in well.

A planner or journal is something that can be very personal depending on what you want it to do. For me it is my to-do-list, shopping list, calendar, thoughts and ideas and a notebook all in one. Sure I might be able to use an electronic device to do some of that but this is something that I can use no matter where I am and I can customize it for my own personal use and not for what someone else thinks should work for me.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Juggling projects

I think for all of us juggling of multiple projects can be a challenge. The more projects that you have on the go and the bigger the projects the harder it seems to manage everything easily.

I am one of those individuals that normally has multiple projects on the go and am trying to figure out how to manage all of them and actually get things done on all of them. The challenge with the larger projects is actually feeling like you are getting somewhere on them. Sure you can spend hours working on something and sure you have moved the project ahead a bit but can you really see any progress.

How you manage the projects will depend on you and also how many projects that you have on the go. Here is how I manage some of the projects that I do both professionally and personally.

Work projects
For the work projects that I have on the go the list of the various tasks that are going to be involved in the project normally get written out. Sure the list can be rather long but just being able to mark off as even the little things are done can help a lot. The long list of tasks is also helpful to ensure that all the tasks are completed and nothing is forgotten.

For the work projects I also try and keep each project listed separately so that it makes it easier to see how each project is moving along. The number of projects can vary and the detail for each of the projects can vary but the lists are normally handy and something that I can update when I have a few minutes.

Personal projects
For my personal projects I handle it in a couple of different ways. In some cases the list of the various tasks are listed out similar to the work projects because it helps me see that I am getting things accomplished. This can mean some time of feeling overwhelmed when you see the size of the list but it does get a little easier once things start to get marked as completed.

For my cross-stitch projects when I am working on a project I have got into the habit of taking a picture each day that I work on a projects. This gives me a picture of the progress that I have been able to make. With cross-stitch there are days that it doesn’t feel like you have made much progress but when you can compare pictures you do see that you did get the project moved forward. Also for my cross-stitch projects I have got into the habit of tracking the completed blocks that I do. A block is an area of 10 x 10 stitches or possible stitches and I track when I get blocks done for the month.

General notes
For me yes there can be times when I have a lot of lists on the go but I have to admit that I am one of those individuals that like seeing progress on things. I know that some people complain when they see the lists that I make but that is how I manage the juggling of all the projects and tasks that are needed to be completed.

Not everyone would be able to handle the lists that I made and I know that. This is how I handle the various projects that I have on the go and it can make my life just a little easier to manage. Sure the tracking of all the projects both for work and personal can be challenging but at least I know that I am getting things done.

The other tool that I use lots is my calendar because that is where I track a lot of different things. It can be the various conferences and meetings that I attend as well as webinars, appointments and even when the various bills are due. Just having one place where I can go to see what some of the obligations are makes it a little easier for me to manage things.

Juggling projects can be a challenge at the best of times but when you have a large list of projects it can really start to be something that takes a bit of time and energy. Making sure you have a means of managing your projects is important and knowing what works well for you is also something that you need to figure out.

Monday, November 13, 2017


Volunteering is something that some people would like to do and it is something that I know that we do when we have the time. There are organization that take volunteers throughout the year because there is such a demand and then there are organizations that take volunteers at a specific time during the year to meet their demands. Organizations that take volunteers at a specific time during the year normally need the volunteers for a specific project or if there is training involved they want to do the training at a specific time.

When you ask a charity or organization if they need help when you put your hand up it is important to understand that you may get a variety of answers to that question like the following:
  • What experience do you have volunteering with an organization like ours?
  • What is your available time evenings, weekends, or weekdays?
  • How much time are you willing to volunteer?
  • What type of volunteer work are you looking to do?
  • Where are you located? (this can happen when you apply for a volunteer position with an organization that is national and you don’t give your location)

Now here are some of the answers you might receive when you volunteer:
  • Thank you for your interest, please let us know a good time to contact you and we can discuss how you can assist our organization.
  • Thank you for your interest, at this time we are currently not accepting volunteers but will keep your name on file for when an opening comes up.
  • Thank you for your interest but we are not accepting volunteers. Please try again at a later date.
  • Thank you for your interest and we are having a meeting on (specific date) and look forward to meeting you then.

Sure the questions and answers are just a few ideas of what you might receive and you have to be willing to accept any of these. I work with an organization that does need volunteers for specific events and projects and we always have to ask where the person is located to see if volunteers are needed at the specific time. We always keep the contact information so that when we need volunteers we have a list of people we can reach out to.

When you get an email saying that an organization doesn’t currently have any positions available, understand that and appreciate that you get a response. Don’t get upset that they don’t have something immediately for you because everyone organization is different. Also it is important to understand that if you reply again with a tone of being upset that the organization cannot assist you immediately it doesn’t look good on you.

Volunteering is something that can be very rewarding but it can also require a lot of your time and energy and you have to know what is expected of you before you make the final commitment of your time for any organization.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Women in IT

Women in IT
I have heard a lot of people make comments about being women in IT and yes I am one of those women.

I may not have the full networking and security knowledge as some guys or even other women however I am not afraid to stand in front of a rack and do some of the work that is required.  Yes, I will even stand behind the rack and work on the connections if that is required.

A lot of the work on the servers is now done remotely so it means that you don't have to stand like I am standing very often.  In this case the work that needed to be done required a physical presence so that meant it was a trip to the client site and into their server area.

In this case this is only part of the servers that the client has because they are located in more than one location so they spread out the servers to the various locations. Yes this rack looks small but because of virtualization is means that there can be a lot of data in a smaller space now.

I have heard a lot of comments when I have attended the various IT conferences because I am a women.  In some cases I have been asked if I am in sales or marketing or was I an assistant in the IT department.  Well, in a lot of cases I am in sales, marketing and accounting and every other department that a business has because when your business is only two people you work in all the departments at various times. Having the opportunity to learn and understand some of the server work that is required for the clients has made me happy because now I can assist the clients better.

In some cases for our clients I don't do any of the server or computer work and in some cases I am checking to ensure things are working like the client expects them to be working. It is sometimes nice to let the client know that they have an issue even before they are aware of it and sometimes we have even solved it before anyone sees the issue.

Through the various courses, seminars and conferences I have attended I have learned quite a bit and am now able to say that yes I am a women in IT.