Thursday, July 24, 2014

Color-Coding, Categories and Other Words That Begin With "C" But Are Pronounced With a Hard "C" Phoneme.


Modularlization during a planning session happens in various categories and whilst planning we may find ourselves, as I often have, in color-coding turmoil. Come out, come out wherever you are, all you colour-coders. This post is for you.

As avid colour-coders we know how to segregate the portions of our lives through color and by using the varieties available, we  literally, showcase the areas of our lives we've taken the time to plan. There is your life, in all the weekly or monthly glory, defined in high-definition colour by the use of analogue products. Gaze at the wonder of what you have created.
A coding system error occurs when we want to define the various portions of our lives and begin to dissect EVERYTHING we do as a category. Categories are VITALLY important in parsing out specific detail and clumping like bits together. Categories allow us to focus on what needs to get done within the home, or while away from home. Categories give us the limitations of mental space and free spirits though we are, we still need clear delineations on where to stop.
But how many categories do we create? Do we have one for our spouse? children? Errands? Separate by stores? Here's what I've come up with and I hope it helps you see through the mental clutter of basic human categories (assuming you are living in a developed country). I am also sharing the colors I've assigned each category.

1. Body (Lime Green)
2. Mind (Marigold Orange)
3. Soul (Eggplant Purple)
4. Food (Forest Green)
5. Work (Fuchsia)
6. Style (Hot Pink)
7. Home (Aqua Green)

8. Plan (Atlas Grey)
9.Travel (Sky Blue)

10. Write (Vermillion)

I struggled with adding the concepts of "Think" and "Beauty" but don't those technically fit under "Mind" and "Body" respectively? Similarly, if we choose to create a category for "spouse" are we not then creating and following an agenda within an agenda? in other words, if your husband has a doctor's appointment that YOU need to keep track of, why not simply identify it as "Body", use the designated color for "Body" and simply define the appointment as one for the husband. These overarching categories are vague enough to capture major life occurrences for me.

I've included "Style" to encourage my journey in finding and maintaining my own style for clothing and life-style as well. Also, you will find "Travel" may not suit your needs. I do travel often for work and identify work travel under the "Work" category, which is why I created the "Travel" slot for everything involving holiday travel and vacations or getaways.

I also realise that the "Write" might seemingly need to fit under "Work" as I am a writer and spend time writing to do work. However, I like to create time to write about subjects that are outside the scope of work, like children's stories. These moments are planned and designated to encourage the honing of writing skill. Any decent writer will (or should) write consistently to maintain a level of fluency and strive to ritualize the artful practice.

I'm very keen on this set of words to help me define the parameters of my life because when all is said and done, I can flip open my planner and visually see which colors are not appearing during the course of the week. I know, instantly, THESE are the categories which require more attention. And we all know, in life, energy flows where attention goes. I have weeks where I notice only a smattering of Aqua Green. Those are usually weeks where I am completely absorbed in work, either facilitating a workshop or engrossed in coaching clients. This system helps keep me honest about where I am spending my time, very similar to Benjamin Franklin's diary.

Deliberate living happens when we are deliberate about our planning. We must be able to face our own lacking in certain areas just as we are willing to celebrate areas that we champion with ease. The categories we use simply lay down waypoints in our journey of harmonizing our lives to purposefully live with grace and ease in as many categories as we care to curate.

What other major categories do you modularize your life besides these? I want to hear from you. For more information about the strategic life planning and career coaching, please sign up for my newsletter here: Career + Life Planning Success
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4 comments:

  1. Oh, if only I could remember what all the colours are for when I try to do this :-)
    I´m pretty good about doing this in my diary pages, which only include work meetings (black), certain date specific work tasks which will never be entered on my to do list (green), personal appointments and deadlines/reminders (pink), personal date specific tasks (blue), monthly deadlines (orange).
    Everything else goes in my to do lists (one for work and one for personal).
    The work one is reviewed on a regular basis and at the moment I am transferring items from the list to a sticky note for the day which gets stuck onto the diary page - this is working for me.
    What isn´t really working for me is my personal list... and this is entirely down to the fact that I rarely look at it and don´t have the same level of commitment to it as my work list. So realistically, those blue and pink deadlines/tasks don´t always actually make it to the diary pages. Although the appointments do, so at least I don´t miss those.
    I am going to start scheduling a review of my personal list and try to implement the stickies for personal tasks too :-)
    Maybe then I can progress to something more like the above so as well as my life being more ordered, it will also be easier to see when it is out of balance, and it will look nice too - always a bonus :-)

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  2. LJ, I just copy over my color key over onto the next week. It just takes a few seconds and it allows me to active checking method to see if those categories are still valid. Sometimes they change and I roll with it.

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    1. I tried that, and still seemed to spend all my time trying to check what colour I was supposed to be using lol :-)

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