Fancy organisational tools worked for me in theory, but simpler systems worked in practice! Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at freedigitalphotos.net
I have an unfortunate habit of complicating matters that are best kept simple. I over-analyse to my detriment in an effort to procure the ideal outcome.
But in aiming for the ideal, I fail to ‘keep it real’.
For example, I have bought myself different journals, each of which was dedicated for a particular purpose. In my ‘idealist’s mind’s eye’ I imagined myself being super-organised. In real life, I have hardly used any of them!
There was a journal for budgeting. A second one for prayer insights. A third one to write positive affirmations in. A fourth dedicated to ‘writing ideas’. Another journal close to my heart was the personal diary. Of course there was a ‘to do’ and ‘must do’.
I lined all these journals up oh so neatly with their attractive covers (half the reason I was lured into purchasing them) on my shelf. “What a great system!” I thought to myself.
How wrong I was. I have barely touched my budgeting journal. My spiritual thoughts found their outlet on a computer, not with pen and paper. Affirmations were scribbled on spare pieces of paper having forgotten I had a book dedicated to the purpose. The writing ideas book I lost. I fared quite well with the ‘to do’ lists, and I concede it is necessary to keep track of phone contacts and appointments and these two books I actually do use.
However, there is a horrible chasm between my ‘ideal self’ and my ‘real self’ in most matters I involve myself with, including an organisational system.
I do believe that if I abandoned my ideals altogether, I may not put in the best effort I can to improve myself. However, by complicating matters I set myself up for ‘failure’. I feel disorganised that I could not ‘’keep the system”. A budget book is ideally a great idea. However at the end of the day, if I had a simpler system of keeping mental notes of the ‘main idea’ behind it – paying what I have to pay and knowing roughly what’s left over, I have accomplished to a sufficient extent it’s purpose. Practically, a budget could be just as well maintained by using those scrap bits of paper.
By the time a seed for a ‘writing idea’ has been sown, I am a creature of habit: I turn to my computer first and foremost.
If I could sum up how “keeping it simple” has worked for me, I use my PC to work out my weekly budget, write spiritual thoughts, I write articles. A separate personal diary, address and appointment have proved useful. I can’t just write my appointments down on “word”: I need to have them separate. Practically this just works best.
My address book is laid out so as to have all my useful contacts, handy for when I need to look someone up. Practically, appointments are something I can’t afford to put on a scrap of paper – they are important and so a dedicated book hasn’t proved to be a waste of time.
This article is not about books kept for different purposes. It’s about finding a happy mid-way point between ‘realistic’ and, if you can relate to being an idealist, ‘how it could be’. It’s about being practical, getting results. It’s about sharing insights others may or may not relate to: not over thinking things, not overanalysing (if you can relate to this, also)
My friend has a useful way of describing it to me “KISS” – Keep It Simple Stupid!
My anxiety levels, productivity and efficiency and have improved since consciously adopting this philosophy!
By "Keeping it Simple" we minimise wasted time, mental energy (and paper!) when a job can be just as usefully performed in an easier way.
Great article Jussie and one I could really relate to. I have also tried having a number of journals for different purposes and quickly found it unmanageable and impractical. This year I am making an effort to keep a daily journal of what happens in my life but frequently miss writing in it for a day or two or three. That reminds me, I must catch up on the last few days.....