What would the Middle Ages do with Outlook 2007?

By Holly Tucker

I'm in what good friends and family call my "Cartesian mode." That's when I start breaking tasks down by lists and tackling the mysteries of the natural world in manageable chunks, careful not to overlook anything. And taking nothing as a foregone conclusion. You can call it OCD--Obsessive Cartesian Determination.

My "tabula rasa" moment came with a heretical rethinking of the tyranny of email over the holidays. Armed with a copy of David Allen's Getting Things Done, I wrestled my inbox to the ground. Then came the Outlook 2007 reminder flags and color categories. Finally, the decision to turn off the computer in the evenings so I could share regular, focused time with my family.

I mention all of this because this is a blog on Wonders and Marvels. I'm marveling that it is IS possible to keep an inbox empty. It IS possible to pump out a book chapter in half the normal time without losing tons of sleep (and oddly, my beta readers have decided it's the strongest one yet...). And it IS possible to have dinner as a family with spare time for checkers in the evenings.

Can you find ten extra hours in your week to make time for the stuff that really matters? Here's a place to start.

And for your viewing pleasure: One of the most stunning book of hours in history...
"Les tres riches heures du Duc de Berry" (1412-1416). Those medieval and early-modern folks were just as busy as we are now. So many fields to tend, crusades to launch, and wonders to explore.

Here's wishing that my Outlook calendar were as beautiful as theirs! There is only so much those color-coded categories can do.

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1 comment:

  1. Great post Holly! This year I have been trying to work on not multi-tasking so much. You know...feeding the baby while cooking dinner while talking on the phone while checking email...that sort of thing.

    I wonder what medieval folks did for entertainment in the long months after the harvest? They were cooped up inside with only each other for company. (ok so maybe a little drinking was thrown in.) I guess they had bigger things to worry about - like surviving the winter.


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