Mondays are productivity days at SimpleProductivity blog.
I was perusing a scrapbooking magazine the other day that promised lots of completed pages. You just assemble a scrapping “pantry” and by pulling things out, you were able to quickly assemble scrapbook pages.
It got me thinking about productivity and how scrapbooking and productivity are very similar.
The fundamental unit in scrapbooking is your page. This holds photos, embellishments, papers and journaling and ties it all together to form a cohesive unit.
In productivity, the page is going to be the “project” in David Allen terms, or discrete item that you are currently working on.
In scrapbooking, backgrounds are used to group everything together. Their size specifies the size of the finished page and acts as a constraint on the finished product. They are also the foundation on which everything else is built. There is at least one solid piece of paper on the bottom of everything that holds it all together.
In productivity, the thing that holds everything together is going to be your tracking system. It really doesn’t matter what tracking system you use, as long as you have one. The constraints will be created by knowing what “done” looks like.
In a scrapbooking pantry, you will have many different papers you can use to make the base page. Likewise, in productivity, you can use different tracking systems for different projects. Some projects lend themselves more to certain structures. For example, the way my work is portioned out lends itself very well to a plain vanilla GTD system. My “real” life is more an Autofocus page. Use what works for you, regardless of what “experts” may say.
Scrapbooking pages are generally used to highlight photographs. These pictures are the focal point of the page, and the reason the page is created to begin with. Not every photo is used for a layout; photos are chosen or rejected based on their quality, their interest, and their relevance.
In productivity, this would equate to the reason you are doing the project to begin with. Not all projects are worth doing, and projects should be chosen based on their quality, interest and relevance.
In scrapbooking, embellishments are used to make the page more interesting. These include stickers, ribbons, eyelets, brads and snippets of paper.
In productivity, this is where the fun stuff comes in. Tools, planners, electronics and everything we can use to make the job more fun can be considered an embellishment.
There are two things to remember with productivity embellishments, as with scrapbooking: use what you have, or you will quickly be overwhelmed with things that caught your eye and were then abandoned for the next shiny bit; and make sure the embellishments don’t drown out the focal point (in other words, don’t let the tools overwhelm productivity).
While presenting a picture on the page with pretty things surrounding it makes a fine scrapbooking page, adding text of some sort places the picture in context and allows the viewer to understand what was happening and why this page was constructed. A picture of a birthday cake won’t convey much information unless we know who it was for and why the scrapbooker thought it worth preserving. Was it a milestone birthday? Was it a cake that took many hours to construct? Journaling allows words to tell us about the picture.
Similarly, taking notes on what you are doing while working on a project can help you place that project in context when you revisit it after a period of time. You can note why you did something, what the outcome was, particulars of how you accomplished it. It may even save time in the future, should you ever have to repeat the project.
The principles of good scrapbooking can prove very useful when taken in the light of productivity: know what you’re doing, remember that not everything is worthy of being a project, embellishments are fine as long as they don’t eclipse the work, and journaling can keep everything in context for review.
Photo by dearbarbie