When do organizational tools become barriers? There is no lack of options available to us now when it comes to trying to organize our lives, our thoughts, our junk drawer, whatever. You name it.
Do you want to organize your closet? Easy! California Closets, Home Depot, and about a million folks on TikTok stand at the ready.
Maybe you want to organize your calendar? Done. Aside from the calendar app that comes pre-installed on your phone, you can also access the services of the other calendar apps like Monday or tap into Google which can handily also help you out with your dinner menu and your kid’s geography project.
Diet, wardrobe, activity levels, motivation, heck you can even track your sleep or meditation so you can become better at doing nothing at all.
With girlfriends, comes wisdom
On a call with my girlfriends this week, one of them mentioned she had periodically made use of a bullet journal to track motivation and commitment to activities that were important on that day, week, or month. My other friend had never heard of the concept and upon description became immediately anxious over the idea of tracking things in that manner. I, on the other hand, sat firmly in the middle, having toyed with the idea when I saw pic after pic of them filling my Pinterest feed (thanks algorithms). Quickly, I checked myself, knowing how difficult I had already found sticking with more important activities in my life like, oh I don’t know, writing!
I fully admit that I love the idea of adding a bit of artistic flair to what is otherwise a mundane task. Counting things.
But our conversation got me thinking. With all of these apps, books, tracking devices, services, and people dedicated to bettering our every action (and inaction for that matter), how much time are we spending on checking in on all of these trackers? And doesn’t that, by default, defeat their intended purpose?
Hello, pot? This is the kettle.
I am particularly triggered by this question as I stop writing for the fifth time during this very short sitting to check on what Grammarly is telling me to change in my essay. Instead of actually writing my essay. This handy little productivity tool is effectively sabotaging my productivity.
And worse than that, as far as I can tell, the underlying message of all of them, each of these apps, trackers, or services is, “you kinda suck.” I’m wordsmithing here but I think you see where I’m going. They are telling us, consistently, daily, every minute, that what we’re doing needs improvement. I’m fully aware that everything I do on a day-to-day basis leaves room for improvement (except making a martini, I’m pretty happy with how I make a martini) but do I need the constant reminder? The earworm that feeds me the insidious message, “you’re not good enough.”
No. No, I believe I do not.
Stop the track
So, if your water consumption tracker or step monitor or screen timer hasn’t mentioned it to you today, let me be the first; you’re pretty awesome and you don’t need any help in that department. As a matter of fact, I think if you stop listening to all of your ‘trackers’ you’ll hear your own voice telling you in no uncertain terms, “I feel way better now.”