When does journalling matter?

Bear with me for a few paragraphs. I need to set this up to make a point. I just dealt with a task on my list. The task was to decide whet...

Bear with me for a few paragraphs. I need to set this up to make a point.

I just dealt with a task on my list. The task was to decide whether or not to write a paper for a conference to be held next April in Rome.

I love Rome. But I realized that the conference would overlap exactly with the exam period for the Winter 2017 semester, when the colleague with whom I normally teach will be on sabbatical. If I go to the conference, it's very likely I'll be absent for the exam - which is quite unacceptable. If by some miracle the exam is scheduled so as to not conflict with the conference, my absence will still impede me heavily: it will either interfere with the very end of classes (during which time I'm normally inundated by students looking for last minute help), or with my grading those exams. I’m the kind of person who can’t enjoy a trip if I know I’m leaving behind a quagmire of work. So, even though I love Rome, there's no way I could really enjoy the trip.

So I've decided to not even try to write a paper.

Ok, that’s the background. Thanks for sticking it out.

Now, let me ask you: Why do you care about any of this?

Right. You don't.

Heck, I don't even care about it - not now that I've made the decision.

Now, according to the people who espouse detailed daily "journalling" of their activities - like aficionados of bullet journals - I’m supposed to document that decision. Okay, fine. But why? Will I ever need to remember that? Nope. Will anyone ever want to know that I decided against going to that particular conference, or why I made that decision? Nope.

What's the utility of documenting the minutiae of one's work?

I mean, just look at these pages! How much time and effort went into their preparation? How is that time and effort going to benefit the author in the future?

Don’t get me wrong. I can appreciate the aesthetics here, and I can also appreciate the enjoyment one may derive carefully writing all this stuff out - it’s very much a work of art, really.  But what’s the use of it all? If you read the blog entries where these kinds of images typically appear, you’ll almost always find how creating these journals actually improved their authors’ productivity. How’s that supposed to work, when whatever time you save thanks to being organized you waste again creating these meticulous and admittedly lovely journal pages?

I’m a big fan of productivity, because I’m inherently lazy. The more productive I can be when I have to work, then less overall time I need to work and the more time I can spent doing precious little of anything. If creating these works of art is your “thing,” then great - have at it, by all means. But be honest and please don’t try to convince anyone that it improves your productivity.



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The Trouble with Normal...: When does journalling matter?
When does journalling matter?
The Trouble with Normal...
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