Friday, 21 December 2012

Make your own Personal To Do pages

I've been trying to get my head around this Getting Things Done (GTD) business recently; I must say that it's proving to be a bit more complicated to get to grips with than I initially thought. So far I have decided that I'm in desperate need of more to do pages! I'm not sure whether or not this format goes against the GTD ethos, but you can never have too many to do pages as far as I'm concerned.

As with my previous personal tutorial, we need to start with a personal sized document. You can find my tutorial on how to make that here.

Platform: Mac

Software: InDesign CS5.5

Step 1: Knowing where to start
Before we can put anything on our page, we need to know where our lines start from, so drag a guide down from the horizontal ruler (rulers can be found under View > Show Rulers if you can't see them).

In the reference box, found at the top left of your screen, set the Y value to 13.7mm. Don't worry, typing it in metric and hitting enter will automatically convert the measurement into your unit of choice!

Your horizontal guide position.

Step 2: Making your lines
Using the pen tool, draw a horizontal line across your page, following your guide and within your margin box (as seen in the personal sized page tutorial). You can check that you're line is in the correct position using the reference box again.

The pen tool.

Now that you have your first line we need to make sure it has a softer presence on the page by using the stroke option box. If this isn't already on your screen use Window > Stroke to bring up the dialogue box. We're going to give our line a stroke of 0.3pt and rounded cap ends.

Your stroke box should look like this once you're done.

The next bit requires a touch of InDesign magic called step and repeat. Select your horizontal line with the black arrow and select Edit > Step and Repeat to bring up the box we want. A filofax to do page has 13 lines, including the top one, so we need another 12 with a vertical spacing of 12.6mm.

If you're following along, you should have something similar to this by now.

Before you click OK, check the preview box and make sure that the page looks right to you. This is the time to increase or decrease the line spacing, depending on your preference. As long as your line space isn't less than the size your check box; you;ll get more than a few overlaps if you do. I recommend having at least an extra 4mm on top of your desired check box size in order for your page to not appear too cramped if you go for narrow lines, e.g. 2x2mm box needs a line spacing of at least 6mm.

Now you may click OK.

Step 3: Making your check boxes
Every good to do list needs check boxes! If you prefer, you can leave these out all together and have a more free-form list style, but I like having a positive visual sign that I've completed a task and no longer have to worry about it.

Using the rectangle tool (if you would prefer circles, long click on the rectangle tool and select the ellipse tool from the list that pops up) click anywhere within your work space to bring up an option box where we can put the exact measurements we want.

The rectangle tool.

For the purposes of this tutorial, we're going to be using 4x4mm squares, so whack that into your measurement boxes!

This will create one 4x4mm square.

Step 4: Positioning your boxes
Pop the box we've just made between line one and two. If you have smart guides on (found under View > Grids & Guides > Smart Guides) InDesign will let you know when you've positioned the box in the vertical centre. If you don't use, or trust, these to space your objects, we'll need to use the align tool to position them correctly.

Align to selection & distribute vertical centres (highlighted).

Once this is done, we have to step and repeat our boxes, as we did with the lines. While the spacing is the same, we only need 11.

Our page, now with boxes.
Step 5: Final adjustments
Just to make sure that nothing goes squiffy, all we have to do now is make sure that both our lines and boxes are:
  1. Aligned to the right edges (or left if you'd prefer) of your margins.
  2. All the horizontal centres of all the page objects are distributed correctly.
We can do both of these by revisiting our alignment box. Select everything on your page using the black arrow and hitting cmd and a together.

Align to margins & align right edges (highlighted).

Look familiar? Align to selection & distribute vertical centres (highlighted).

Step 6: Save and print
No that we all have something that looks similar to this (once you press W)...

Ta da!

All that's left to do is to follow this tutorial on saving and printing your pages, and punch holes in everything.

Hopefully this will help us all to Get Things Done!

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