My friend Sarah sent me a link to Time Management as an Art Project. At first glance, it was not just an article to skim. I wanted to really digest the material. How do I learn? I take notes.
So I grabbed a notebook and made bullet points as I was reading. When I got to the Chronodex image, I had to draw it myself twice to really understand what they were going for. Certainly, if the author is recommending I use this as an artistic and organizational tool, I should know what I’m drawing. And by learning to draw the item and examinging how people have been using it (as evidenced in their Flickr images), I immediately figured out that (a) that’s too cumbersome for me and (b) the core idea is to have a visual record that YOU enjoy. I love color. Heck, I love color-coding! But I have occasionally tried to bog myself down to extensive tracking systems (by hand) and recognized that *MY* preferred methods are much faster.
In fact, the biggest trick in my organizational systems over the past two decades has been to ditch the old paper techniques (oh noes!) in favor of better and faster digital methods. As cell phones and computers get closer and closer together, there’s just no reason for me to have a large paper planner anymore. (Sorry, Franklin Planner. We had many good years together. And your emails and displays in Staples still tempt me. But my digital life is faster.)
But digesting the article (into my handwritten notes because, still, I think through writing [or typing]) did help me hit on the crux of the issues. I finally jotted two Guidelines to help me with decision making and organization.
My first list:
- Make it Easy.
- Make it Fun.
My revised list:
- Make it Simple.
- Make it Pretty.
Why did I need a revised list? Because not everything that is Simple is Easy. In fact, many things that are Simple in principle are not that Easy to accomplish. Consider fitness plans. Simple = “Exercise regularly.” Easy = Skipping the Exercise. It requires Discipline, might even be considered Difficult = Prioritizing your day so that Exercise happens. Or consider housework plans. Simple = Wash all the dishes before bed. Easy = Go to bed with a messy sink.
Although I’d like to make things easy, I think I can agree that I can make things simple.
So the second principle I wrote down reads “Make it fun.” But again, not everything is fun. So if I cannot make it fun (emptying the trash regularly), I can work off the principle that it makes things pretty (look! a clean trash can! yay!) Taking notes might not be fun. But if I use the right color post-it notes or colored pens, the notes could be pretty.
Make it Simple. Make it Pretty.
What are your guiding principles? Are the simple things easy?