In part 1 of this series I discussed my newly-created organizational tool and its basic operations. This post reports on the progress I’ve made since then, both in the tool and in my current organizational technique. Apologies in advance for the embarrassing state of my personal motivation. Skyrim. That’s really all there is to say on the matter.
First, I did something simple: highlight the day. This simply leads the eye to the (probable) right place. I highlight both in the recording area (right) and the planning area (left). A different set of conditional formatting further highlights the particular items that haven’t yet been fulfilled. It’s like the “next item” element of a to-do list. I might try to make it so that the critical items are highlighted first before the less critical ones, but that would take a bit more effort than you might think.
Second, I built a comparison tool. This second sheet mimics the first and compares the amounts recorded with the amounts I should have recorded. Ideally, I’d see grey dots representing balance between planned activities and actual activities completed. The current result is a bunch of accusing and mildly demotivating red. I thought a light shade of pink would assuage the demoralizing effect, but there is simply too much fail. Here I can see data on which parts of my organizational methodology are working or which items are poorly planned. Reminders that I am continually failing in one area can serve as motivation to do better.
A third feature: weekly subtotals. I decided that it was more important to focus on the things I did in a week rather than in a day, so I added week summaries. You can see these in both sheets as green vertical bars. This gives me the flexibility to shift things from one day to another and tell at a glance whether it all adds up.
Finally, let me discuss what I’ve already seen as needing changes.
There are several items on my list that are just too difficult to do for an exact amount of time per week. For example, sometimes I don’t need to cook, and sometimes I need to do extra work at the farm. I already built in some flexibility in the timing of activities, but none in the amount of them. Why not do that too? So I was considering making categories of activities and assigning an overall time to the categories, but not the individual activities. That creates (the illusion of) additional freedom, and freedom of choice always makes an inescapable task easier to stomach.
A final, but simple, problem: I need to re-assign my tasks. This goes with the above, of course, but I also have some experience with the current schedule and have some ideas on what needs to be added, removed, and adjusted.
Tune in for part 3, where I do more organizational shenanigans, Excel tomfoolery, and hopefully have less red to show for it.