Wednesday, December 15, 2010


I’ve been thinking a lot today about organization. Particularly in how I organize my thoughts, goals and ideas in regards to my Happiness Project. The way that I seem to like to do things is make lists on random bits of paper. I noticed this habit back in university when I found I was rarely using my sketchbook to work out my ideas. I was always putting my ideas on pieces of scrap paper.

There’s something really valuable in keeping a collective record of something all in one place. I seem to enjoy lists, point form lists of the to do nature. This is good except that I write them on post its, pages from those tiny lined notebooks or a piece of paper ripped out of a notebook. I write myself a new list every few days. Once I cross most of the tasks off the paper is discarded.

Why’s this a problem? Well, in school it was because I couldn’t present a cohesive collection of my thoughts and ideas to show my process, but lately it’s been bothering me because I feel like I could be doing better on my happiness project if I had a organization system in place. I have a notebook in which I wrote out all the months and goals I had for each of them. Now whenever I add to the book I simply write on the next available page. Nothing is grouped together. Perhaps a bigger notebook, like one of those ones with sections would be better. I also think that having a system for organizing would help make me more accountable. If I had everything in one place I think I could more clearly set up ways to track my progress, set mini goals, work through ideas in a more clearly defined way… but maybe not.

It’s strange that I don’t have a better system for this. I think I have a mild case of OCD. I count things with my feet. My left foot is one, my right is two, the left is three, etc. I have this weird compulsion to count certain types of things as even multiples of 5. If I count window panes along the front of a house and I come to the last one and I end on my left foot at the number 15 I have to recount them, continuing on until I reach thirty (even multiple of 5). I also have this weird need to have things be in their place, any prolonged clutter makes me crazy. I’ve stopped being compulsive about these things but I still do them. You’d think that this kind of ordered thinking would lend itself well to organizing this project.  Right now I have a journal that I’ve abandoned for the blog, a secondary journal in which I sometimes write quotes and to do lists, a big notebook at work that I was trying to write in work related stuff like notes from design books and hours logged on online tutorials and I also have my Happiness Project notebook that has my original ideas for every month and some random lists and ideas.

My plan is to get a new five section notebook and try to do everything Happiness Project related in this one book. It needs to be something that will fit comfortably in my purse so that I will always have it with me when I have a thought or need to make a list. My plan is to start making smaller resolution charts and putting them in this notebook. Right now I plot out a big 18” x 36” resolution chart that I put on my wall. I liked the idea of a big visual to keep me on track, but my walls are filling up with charts, affirmations, notes, etc. It’s becoming clutter and that just won’t do. Originally I thought Melissa and I would both put up big charts and we would be accountable to each other by putting our progress out in the open but Melissa works in a more unstructured way. She doesn’t chart her progress, she sets a goal and aims for it but doesn’t mark yes or no every day. This means that my chart is 100% for my benefit only so I’m ready to try something different. I like the idea of a notebook that has a scrapbook quality to it that I can go back and read through once I’ve filled it.

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