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Blog: Paper Doll, Tackling The Stacks And Piles
Monkeying Around: Stop drowning everyone else in paper clutter

Nagging is the repetition of unpalatable truths.

~Edith Clara Summerskill (British politician)

Over the last few weeks, we've talked about all digital solutions that that provide alternatives to offices cluttered with Post-It Notes® and reminders written on the backs of deposit slips. In general, these solutions focused on creating digital To Do lists, or taking advantage of virtual virtual assistants like Sandy and Jott.

Sometimes, however, the cluttering paper reminders don't fill up our own environment, but pile up around our friends, family members, colleagues or employees as we nag them to accomplish what we need or desire. Then, our stickies and notes and memos add just a bit more fuel to the fire of their (and, if we share space, our) frustration. Let's face it, no matter how efficient we are, if we're adding to someone else's clutter, it's like raking the leaves and then dumping them in our neighbor's yard. Sneaky fun, but not entirely a bright idea.

Instead, our friends atMonkeyOnYourBack have a cute solution that yields all the sneaky fun, without grumpy people coming after us with pitchforks.

Registration is simple:
  • Fill in a teeny form with your email address, name, time zone and password, and then confirm that you agree with their Terms and Conditions.
  • Check your email inbox for a confirmation email to prove you really are who you say you are. Click on the link in the email, and you're good to go!
By the way, registration is free, as is the service as long as you only have five or fewer "live monkeys" currently active. For a one-time fee of $20, registered users can have an unlimited number of monkeys active at any one time.

(This gives one pause to consider the famed infinite monkey theorem and how we might finally arrive at those infinite number of monkeys typing on an infinite number of typewriters to achieve Shakespearian quality literature and theater. Indeed, with all the time you'll save by not nagging reminding your loved ones or co-workers, you might be able to create a world-famous blog to unite the populace in updating the theorem to include computers and not just typewriters, but perhaps that's just Paper Doll's fantasy To Do list item.)

Once you're registered, you have a few options. First, you can create a new monkey (insert your own Darwin joke, folks -- Paper Doll tries to steer clear of controversy like that) and send it to a recipient.

The elements are simple: WHO (at what address) do you wish to urge to do WHAT, by WHEN? To create a new monkey, just:

1) Send a monkey to remind...

Enter the email address of the person you wish to nag remind. For example, you could prompt a team member at work to update a spreadsheet, or you could alert your computer-addicted teen that it's almost dinner time and he should come downstairs to set the table. Thus, you'd type the email of the remindee, [email protected] or [email protected], just as you would if you were sending an email.

2) To do the following...

Fill in the "brief description"--that is, what do you want them to do?

You also have an option to click on "add a longer description". For example, if you've got a series of instructions you wish to include, or have the urge to pontificate on WHY you are reminding your spouse, yet again, that he has purchased the wrong brand (of toilet paper, charcoal briquettes, luxury automobile, etc.) and you wish him to return it, posthaste, in iambic pentameter, no less, have at it! Monkey On Your Back gives you space to do this.

3) By...

Enter the date and time frame by which you want the task completed; there's even a calendar you can click to search ahead, so you need not know upon what day of the week your birthday will fall 5 years from now, in case you wish to remind your spouse to buy you candy and flowers.

Please note that Monkey's web site was created by our friends at AlienCamel in Australia, so they use the date construct popular in most places outside North America: Day of the Week, Date, Month, Year.

You may specify an actual time, or select from pre-created options: "Start of the day", "Middle of the Day", and "End of the day". Sorry to say, you can't send a monkey to make them do something five minutes ago, as the time travel module has not yet been added.

That's it! Your recipient will receive an email that looks something like the one below, only with a larger and cuter graphic of the monkey delivering the message.

Paper Doll has sent me, a highly trained and super-intelligent monkey, to remind you to:

Read Paper Doll's blog post on Family Filing from 11/6/2007

by Wed, 23 Jul 2008, 5:00 PM

You'll be sent further reminder emails as the deadline approaches! If you want this monkey to stop bothering you, click here to kill the monkey.

To send your own monkeys, visit http://monkeyon.com

When your recipient (AKA: the remindee) gets that email, he or she has the option to "kill" the monkey, which isn't as violent as it sounds. When one clicks on "click here to kill the monkey", the task/reminder is canceled and the recipients have the ability to send you a return comment telling you why they've killed the monkey and whether or not the task was completed.

Meanwhile, you can view your "LIVE" monkeys under the "Monkeys You've Sent" section, detailing the tasks, recipients, deadlines and status of each. Under each task, you have the ability to edit, "kill" (i.e., cancel) or view the history of each monkey.

There's even a section to view your own monkeys, those reminders you've either sent to yourself (at this registered address) or others have sent to you.

Is it silly? Absolutely, but once someone has tired of receiving memo after note after stickie after stern look, it might behoove you to send a monkey to do your bidding and keep the paper clutter and bad feelings to a minimum.

Right now, the monkeys are just cute, but the developers promise updates with "tricks" our little Curious George-esque workers might do in the future. And let's face it, if you feel the need to be the monkey on someone's back, perhaps it couldn't hurt to monkey around a little to keep everyone from going bananas.

posted on: 7/8/2008 10:30:00 AM by Julie Bestry
category: Paper

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Paper Doll, Tackling The Stacks And Piles

by Julie Bestry

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Julie Bestry, President of Best Results Organizing in Chattanooga, TN, is a Certified Professional Organizer®, speaker and author. Julie helps overwhelmed individuals and businesses save time and money, reduce stress and increase productivity through new organizational skills and systems.

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