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By Taymar Pixley | Friday, April 1, 2011

What we learned from the new Time Management Fundamentals course

Taymar Pixley, lynda.com live action director

Taymar Pixley, lynda.com live action director, shares her team's experiences after working on our new time management course.

Time management is something that I have always struggled with personally, so I was a little nervous about directing the course Time Management Fundamentals, which released to the lynda.com Online Training Library® this week. I imagined that the author, productivity expert Dave Crenshaw, would be a highly organized, type-A personality who might look down on my less-organized self.

I was pleasantly surprised to find that Dave is a very down-to-earth, approachable person. He has had his own struggles with staying organized, and these led to his success in creating such an effective system and teaching it to others who struggle with the same problems.

What a relief it was for me to realize that Dave wasn’t a naturally organized perfectionist teaching principles that would never work for someone like me. Because Dave is a renowned author, presenter, and consultant on the topic, I took every opportunity to glean as much information as I could from him while we worked together to create this course. And since I figured everyone on the crew would probably also benefit from Dave’s expertise, I asked Dave to assign us a bit of homework each day of the two-week shoot based on the movies we had shot that day. We learned a lot, and I asked the crew to share some of their favorite tips they picked up while working on this course.

The team’s tips

Loren Hillebrand, production leadLoren Hillebrand, production lead “Organizing always seemed overwhelming to me because I wouldn’t know where to start.  While working on this I was able to see what steps I could take, and it feels doable now.  My wife and I are planning on watching this together to tackle some of our clutter.”
Josh Figatner, production leadJosh Figatner, production lead “What I learned from working on this course helped me to organize my email inbox, which was no small feat. I had over 4,000 unsorted emails. Now my inbox is one of my main gathering points. When things come in I’m able to get to them quickly, instead of it just functioning as a big generic bin for all of my messages, it’s all sorted. Stuff comes in and I’m able to see it and take care of it in a timely fashion.”
Jeff Layton, training producer “One action item I took while working on this course was to consolidate my voicemail accounts. As a producer, I often returned to my desk after a stretch of days in the recording booth and found that I had new messages awaiting my response. After working on this course, I programmed my desk phone to automatically forward all calls to my cell phone. Not only do I not miss any calls, but I now have only one voicemail account to check.”
Kirk Werner, senior training producer “After working with Dave and the rest of the team during our course prep, I set up a consolidated email inbox where my desk phone calls are forwarded as an audio file to my work email. I also built more than a dozen email rules where non-essential emails are shuffled to a folder to be dealt with during my daily email processing. Now I can focus on the important messages and deal with them appropriately.”

My favorite tip from Dave is something that is not in the course, but that he mentioned to me in conversation. Since Dave works at home, he schedules a half an hour at the end of his work day to play video games. This allows him to switch gears so that he can be really present for his wife and children. I think that this is a great tip for anyone who works at home or who has trouble turning their brain off after a long work day.

Swtiching gears and making time

Working on this course was really life-changing for me. The weekend after we finished I bought supplies and set out to apply some of the principles that I learned. I have a seven year old whose room was out of control.  Together we gathered everything that was out of place, and created a home for it just as I had learned from the course. It was an amazing transformation, and since then my son has been able to keep his room organized because everything has a place. (Content manager Bonnie Bills recently blogged about how she too was able to apply the techniques in the course to her home life as well as her work life.)

Now that the course has been released I am excited to watch it again, and apply more of these techniques to my life. I hope you will take the time to watch it. I can’t think of anything better that you could do for yourself than to give the gift of more time.

photos by Lucas Deming, photographer and colorist

By Jeff Layton | Friday, November 12, 2010

A personal lynda.com journey inspired by one of our courses

Behind each course at lynda.com is a team of dedicated people who work closely with the author throughout the process. We are passionate about creating quality content that informs and inspires our members.

Recently we released the course Photoshop Elements 9: Scanning and Restoring Photos.The making of this course inspired some of us to take a closer look at our own history.

It began as a treasure hunt of sorts. We knew we would need many different types of old photographs to use in the course. I began working with new author Janine Smith a few months ago to begin preparing for the course.

Janine and I discussed what the purpose of the course was and what our objectives for the course would be. Among our goals was the hope that we would inspire subscribers to preserve their photographic treasures and documents and add to the story of their local and family histories. Little did we know at the time, that this course would end up piecing together some of our local Ventura County history.

I contacted the local museum of history to see if there were any images that might have been neglected due to deterioration.

Charles N. Johnson, the librarian at Museum of Ventura County, goes through photos with Taymar Pixley, Live Action Director, and Jeff Layton, Producer.

The librarian, Charles N. Johnson, offered two images from the library that weren’t in use because they were in such poor condition. One photograph, a speckled image of a bearded man, was of Royce G. Surdam, who founded the town of Nordhoff in 1874. The townspeople of Nordhoff later changed the city’s name to Ojai, the original home of lynda.com.

A second image, which was crumbled and torn into half a dozen pieces, was an early photograph of an old Spanish-style adobe named Rancho Camulos. First built in 1853, the rancho had been home to Ygnacio Del Valle, former alcalde (mayor) of Los Angeles and member of the California State Assembly. The rancho is now a designated National Historic Landmark and known as the “Home of Ramona,” as the rancho and its inhabitants inspired the 1884 best-selling novel Ramona by Helen Hunt Jackson.

The damaged photo of Rancho Camulos, once home to Ygnacio Del Valle, former alcalde (mayor) of Los Angeles and member of the California State Assembly.

Taymar Pixley, the director on the project, brought in her own family photographs, and discovered a piece of Ventura history abandoned at a thrift store.

“My grandmother was very into our family history, and I had lots of old family photos in a storage container in my garage,” says Taymar. “Pulling these out for the course and seeing how many of even my own childhood photos were fading, losing colors, or had been damaged really made me want to put the principles of this course to use.”

Taymar wanted to be sure to have a lot of options to use as props for the set, so she stopped by a thrift store to see if she could find any old photographs.

“The guy behind the counter handed me a big stack and told me to see if any of them interested me. There were birth certificates, baptismal records, old letters and photographs. As I went through the stack I realized that everything in the stack belonged to the same couple, Ed and Clare Franz. Some of the documents and photos went back as late as the 1800’s, all belonging to the same family who had lived here in Ventura and owned a local pharmacy. One of the letters, written in 1918, really grabbed my attention. It was to Clare and read, What you’ve heard is true… I leave for the convent tomorrow.”

Taymar bought the entire stack from the thrift store for $10. Janine was as thrilled with the find as Taymar was, and even did a little research to see if she could help find out if the couple had any descendents who might be interested in these things.

“Through working on this course I am now more excited and intrigued to find out more about my local and family history,” says Taymar, “I’ll be able to use what I’ve learned to help preserve it.”

Taymar and Charles N. Johnson discuss the photos she found at a local thrift store.

One of the many historical photos Taymar found of Ed and Clare Franz.

Taymar and I are continuing the adventure that this course started. We returned to the Ventura museum of history and spoke with the librarian about the documents Taymar found. He was able to find more information about the family, including Ed Franz’s father, the patriarch of the family who set up shop in Ventura in the 1870’s.

The final restored photo of Rancho Camulos.

Comparison of the original and restored version of the Royce G. Surdam photo.

He was very impressed with the restoration that Janine did on the photographs from the library, and gave me tickets to an event celebrating its history that very weekend at Rancho Camulos. I attended the event and gave a print of the restored photo of the rancho to the historical curator. It turns out that the original image is from the late 1890s, and may help solve a mystery surrounding later reconstruction of the kitchen wall. Taymar plans on continuing to restore her family photos, and is hoping to find descendents of the Franz family. If she cannot find relatives who want the documents, she will donate them to the Ventura museum of history.

The inspired team: Taymar and Jeff at the Museum of Ventura County.

Our original intent was to inspire our subscribers to preserve and treasure their photographs and images. It turns out that this course, in turn inspired us.

photos by Lucas Deming

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