Designing Your Day

Human beings are inherently designers. Every day, we craft solutions that necessitate the consideration of the world around us, whether it’s how to most enjoyably make breakfast, arrange fabric to suggest prominence on a stage, or compose an environment to facilitate the process of learning.There are innumerable theories about the broad concept of design, but I find the truest sentiment on the topic to be that the human nature of creation throughout the span of history is simply too complex to define, as it is forever evolving and conditional to the particular context in which it is being developed.This highlights the human need not only to use design to solve problems for survival, but also to thrive in the ability to do so.

The elegant design of my disaster of a planner is perhaps my greatest tool in surviving college, work, and trying to be a yoga teacher all over town…The new update with the ability to give foot rubs is currently in beta.

And so, I think that adequately sums up why I’ve been really into planning my days out every day for the last couple of weeks. Perhaps optimizing my time every day is really unrealistic, and it’s getting to be a bit excessive, planning down to the minute, but it’s actually offered a me a lot of peace in giving myself the space to pleasantly enjoy a meal and rest while also making it to class (usually) on time and prepared to work on things. My planner is a mess of a metaphor for how I spend my daily life: affirmations, sticky notes, and scribbles to keep track of things I feel obligated to complete (or at least think about completing) in the next 24–168 hours.

I highly recommend checking out this awesome and helpful list from Life Hacker. They’re pretty good at hacking life.

I think, as students, we spend a lot of time trying to look like we’re not only getting by, but succeeding in the face of triumph and other things to do. We’re making connections, learning skills, and understanding the world more while also being able to go out during the weekends and maintain some sort of social life on top of other external clubs, activities, and obligations. But the truth is that it is really hard to seemingly or realistically “have it all” in any capacity. It is especially difficult when you’re in your early twenties, confused, and not sure what you even really want, other than recognition for all the work you seem to be putting into living your life in school.

Every minute of every day, humans are crafting solutions. These can be incredibly mundane ones involving how long it may take to microwave frozen peas for optimal chew factor in combination with ramshackle stir-fry, or incredibly complex. For instance, tackling the task of bringing wifi to rural Americans without access for a Technology and Services class assignment (more on this project later) is much more complex, and yet I somehow use the same step-by-step process to jump into a solution that I have in attempting to cook asian dinners for myself for fun.

I’m deeply inspired by the fact that a basis of understanding and curiosity to learn is the foundation of solving any problem.

I like to think that designing my days is only further evidence that I am on the right path in studying Design Thinking methods… even if, at the end of the day, it usually feels like we’re just throwing sticky notes at each other.