I can’t even begin to count the number of times I’ve read Goldilocks and The Three Bears. It’s not a crazy number, but it’s enough to know the tale inside and out. I’m not going to retell it here, but I do want to focus on the quest that Goldilocks was on: The Quest for Just Right.
Goldilocks spent her entire time in the bears’ home searching for the right chair, the right food, and the right bed. Through trial and error, she eventually found all of those things. But most of the story revolves around her quest for those things, and that’s how it is for us as well. We’re constantly searching for just the right mix of things, whether it be the balancing of material goods and worthwhile experiences, the right time to work on something, or the right task management application (or approach to task management) to use. All of these quests can really drain your energy and, even worse, your spirits.
Chris Guillebeau’s latest book, The Happiness of Pursuit, talks about quests. Epic quests, in fact. And not just his – which was to visit every country on the planet – but the quests of many others. Whether these quests were aided by “life listing” or some other means, the pursuits themselves created a deeper sense of happiness. Along the way, there were struggles. Along the way there were less than desirable conditions to face. Along the way there were obstacles. But they were all part of the pursuit, part of the quest. They made the journey that much more fulfilling, the reward that much sweeter.
Joseph Campbell is another prominent person who wrote about journeys and quests. The Hero’s Journey has been adapted and integrated into many popular tales, even George Lucas’s Star Wars saga. The documentary Finding Joe illustrates how this journey is still relevant in today’s world. As I watched this film, one quote by Mr. Campbell stood out in particular:
”We must be willing to get rid of the life we’ve planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us.”
I thought about this and how the way we work is often determined by protocols and systems that aren’t necessarily ideal for us. I know that systems and frameworks are necessary for high-level functioning, regardless of whether you work on your own or in a large corporation, but there needs to be room for tweaks and alterations that won’t compromise the whole to help the individual work at optimum levels. Frankly that winds up making the whole…better. That’s why I look at approaches and modify them to suit my needs. I dive deep into apps and see where I can make them better for me by thinking beyond convention. I look to see where I can rid myself of what has been designed for many so that I can fashion it better for me. And I’ve learned how to do that by sitting in Papa Bear’s chair and laying in Mama Bear’s bed plenty of times. That’s how I found out what was “just right” for me.
One of my quests is to help people make the most of their time and get the most quality out of their efforts by focusing on the tasks at hand first rather than the time on hand. This quest has led me to try many different approaches and many different apps. It’s helped me forge (and then modify) a productivity path that I use to move things forward every day. It’s given me a better understanding of what can really help people stop doing productive and start being productive, which is a quest we all are taking whether we fully realize it or not.