Reflections

What makes me so organised??

“Shilpa, what makes you so organised?” asked Jyoti, my friend.

Our kids study in same class. I had shared with the school group,  a Google sheet with list of all worksheets and assignments which our (I mean our kids’) school has been sharing as part of offline or home learning.  Thats when this question was asked.

And I wondered, why? Let’s investigate.

To begin with, had made a simple list on paper and more as a to-do list with the hope of marking completion (oh yes, striking off an item in to-do list is an achievement when the list seems to be never ending). But like most of my to-do list, it remained unattended. The school soon gained moment and average 2 a day we started getting worksheets and maintaining on paper anyways was futile.

Then I put the list on Google sheet. It was just an online version of to-do list, still it gave me a feeling of having done something better. List was ready, list was updated but the work (to be read as actual studies) had not yet begun.

Actual studies is easier said than done and thats when things started getting interesting (or should I say tedious and repetitive, and unnecessary).

Lockdown made both of us (my kid and me) busy and so matching the available time slots (more of hers, and bit of mine) and the scope of task and what’s the mood to study today (more of mine, as she would prefer none) required opening of earlier and not done worksheets to know what is in there.

I did this couple of times, before the “Eureka” moment.

From a mere to-do list, I upgraded the sheet to include a brief summary of “whats in there” and “what extra to be done”. A simple summarised view to help identify what can I take up instead of opening the worksheet every time. Of course, striking of from to-do list also would have avoided revising the earlier worksheet, except if I wanted to know what did we do !!

It took me 3 iterations to make a readable, useable and meaningful list.

All through my career and even now, I have been involved in organising data and putting together information, readable and searchable form. While in the beginning, making the data for machines to consume was the quest, now the focus shifted (back) to humans. Creation, Collection, Standardisation, Storing, Retrieving, Analysis and why all this in first place – I have been through and still go through this vicious cycle.

On being asked the reason for being organised, the first thought in my mind was, why 3 iterations?

Some years ago, had written an about data using lego blocks analogy and recently I came across quite a creative representation, again using lego blocks. That infographic just flashed in my mind.

I smiled to myself, knowing what I will add next in the Google sheet.

So coming back to the question, I simply replied  “Well, at least no pivot tables this time”.

May be I should tweak the reply as “Well, at least no pivot tables, for now”

What say, Jyoti?

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