Series: War on Paper
Binders suck, notes suck, paper sucks, I suck, this was me in December, miserable. I had hit the wall, exhausted, all I wanted to do was light a match and toss it on to the mountain of notes in the corner of my room and let the bonfire burn, they were useless anyway after all I just spent the last 2 days rewriting them.
Finals suck for everyone, and if your part of the majority who lack beautiful writing and an aptitude for rigidly structuring your notes with coherent sentences and headline colours stretching the rainbow, it sucks even more. I was in this camp and it was making a living hell of my life, thats why in January 2013 I launched a war against paper and turned the whip back on technology.
I embarked on this campaign with one simple goal, “Make life easier”, simple as that, if what I was doing didn’t adhere to this then I was on the wrong path. But before I could make my school life easier I hard to figure out what was making my life so hard, so naturally my first step was to outline my enemies territory. Thus it was with questionable sobriety on the morning of January 1st, 2013 still feeling the wounds of disorganized binders and notes, I began to outline where I used paper in my life, moreover where paper used me. It came to three very simple categories:
- School Assignments
- To-Do Lists and Calendars
Now these were the mother fuckers, these were the guys I had to tame otherwise I’d be stabbed and left for dead by the end of the semester all over again.
Over this series I’ll show you how you can get technology working for you again to boost your grades and maintain an all time high in your sanity and free time.
An Early Mothers Day
A girl stands next to me, a delicate black saurang wrapped tightly round her small waist, with a pair of vaurnet sunglasses hanging readily around her neck, prepared for the looming moment when the soft, gentle shadow that hangs over her face sharply pulls away and once again turns back into the hot bangladesh sun. A girl stands here next to me trapped in time, peering off into the distance, through the cracked glass in my picture frame, a girl, my mother.
I admire all three of my parents, whole heartedly I do, though they might not have realized it at times but I like to think that I’ve never come off their shoulders, and that to me they still are the giants that can make me feel like an ant. I used find it odd that something as simple as following your heart can evoke such envy but as I start becoming an adult myself (I know if my mom ever reads this she’ll scoff and say “not fast enough”) I’m starting to realize that it doesn’t take much to get knocked off course. It doesn’t take much to loose just who you are.
Yet my Mother still remains today, unchanged, her heart still beating to her own tune, the same warm kindness still flowing from behind her eyes with a commitment to adventure holding strong, unyielding against the wash of time. As I sit here writing this, she calls me to tell me of her plans for the year, Honduras, Belize, Europe, the end destination is never the point. Just as long as she keeps moving, keeps seeing, keeps exploring, dreaming, that is the point. It’s a strength anyone can admire, to pursue your own happiness with what one can only call a beautiful disregard for life’s hurdles.
I sit here looking at this photo every day, watching my mom mid stride through the rough sand stone slum, enclosed by a gaggle of school girls in there wonderfully embroidered dresses, and it never ceases to remind me why she still does nothing less than inspire me, why even given their faults all my parents are still nothing less than my role models.
My mother is still that girl, a perfect reflection, and for that I thank her.
A good semester.
Today is a good day. Maybe it’s the marks, maybe its the compliments or the weather, maybe its the fact that after this I’m going to sit down for a what I’m expecting to be a delicious meal with some good friends. Maybe it’s a combination of everything, usually is, like the other side of a perfect storm, the perfect day.
I’ve come a far in some ways since January, I’ve stayed the same in others but on a day like today it’s almost impossible not to focus on the progress. In January I made alot of resolutions, I had to, my life needed to change. I was unhappy and starting to realize it was ultimately my fault, it’s hard to blame anyone else for your own emotions anyway. I made a slew of new years resolutions, and while my one second video a day project has gone along way to keeping me on track with these (My exercise has slipped in the past month, ill blame the cough for now) I place most of my successes firmly on the shoulders of my war on paper.
By the end of last semester I was tired of forgetting dates, tired of writting my notes twice because I lost/couldn’t read them, I was tired of putting everything off till the last minute, procrastinating 5 hours for every 1 worked. It affected me, it affected those I love, I was a zombie of my own device.
Thankfully I had some time to relax over christmas (like most college students do), I got to decompress, I got to find joy again (deadmau5 concerts, friends and skiing surely are the cure). I had some clarity and after reading through Cal Newport’s “How To Become a Straight-A Student” on the advice of a friend I had the necessary strategies and a fresh start coming up to use them. One thing still troubled me though, how was I ever going to shake my technology addiction, with a new iPhone 4s and nexus 7 in my possession I felt I had no chance, a note would never get taken again.
In that instance it hit me hard, like a cold ocean wave to the face, these devices are all supposed to make my life, our lifes easier, not more difficult! So why am I sitting here fearing them rather than embracing them. I said to myself lets see if I can get rid of these calendars that I never write on, these to-do lists I forget about, these notes that never seem to make it into a binder ever and put them on my devices maybe that will help! and it did this was the start of my war on paper.
I took my time to amass a small army of apps such as:
across all my devices and I have yet to look back. I plan to make my next post about my strategy with this all but for now I just want to give credit to a major changing force in my life. With this semester on wrap up mode it’s quite easy for me to look back with a smile. I’ve just recently received a slew of marked assignments all with 80% to multiple 100% and this is coming from someone who’s been proudly calling himself a C to B student.
But this isn’t about the marks, its about the time I’ve saved, the time I’ve gotten back, and the experiences I’ve gained all because what seemed like something as simple as making my technology work for me again has been as significant as empowering me to (mostly) kick my procrastination habits, reorganize my self and let me enjoy life again.
Here’s to technology and to it allowing me to live my past 4 months just a little better. I’m optimistic that this track with continue on and am looking forward to writing again sometime soon and sheding some much need light on just what anyone could do to improve there life with the devices they already own.
Ah the smell of moustache hangs heavy in the air today, letting us all know it’s ok to flaunt our masculinity this month no matter how wispy. It reminds us that this November is about taking back our principals, to be a man and to take pride in it once again. To take pride in our lives, our work, our craft. This month I want to make sure my all my endeavours demonstrate the dedicated quality it deserves. My relationships, my school work, and my own projects…. including my code. A craftsman is defined by his work and his skill, A programmer is no different. So what makes up code you can bring home to your parents?