Planning Overload

Okay, the end of the year, the last month of the calendar if you will, is chock full of messages hitting us from all kinds of channels.  I’m referring to advertising & marketing messages. I’m overwhelmed with it all.

“For a limited time, you can own this…..enjoy the 10 for only 1 dollar/euro at your local…..make this the holiday to remember with special offers from….common reactions are allergies to the active ingredient, cramps, blurred vision, moodiness, sleepiness and in some cases, death….”  WTF!?

However, what I find even more overwhelming is the myriad of marketing tactics, strategies, resources, research et al, that are available to each of us [the marketing professionals]. Ms. Cook’s comment, naturally, is taken with a grain of salt, but it makes you stop and think about “planning.”  And for the most part, I’m convinced that we’re all over planned. Coupled to the planning are the actions deemed necessary for said plan to be successful. I translate that to, being “overscheduled” and thus feeling more overwhelmed.

Whether it’s marketing communications and strategies,  or making plans for your children’s activities, a vacation, an addition to a home, etc. etc., I’m convinced that there’s much to champion in the less-is-more school of thought. To wit:

  • I’ll stick with Plan A because creating a Plan B or C is going to take even more time, more minutiae, workbooks, versions, hotlinks, B-rolls, post-production, trips to the copier, make more PDFs….OMG!
  • Regarding Plan A, I prefer to make smaller mods to line and action items. My options are: edit or delete. So what I have is still my original plan, but with tweaks
  • When my daughters were growing up, after-school activities were encouraged, but within reason. There was none of the practice/games after school followed by Key Club, music lessons, etc. that seem to be the norm for each school day, week in/week out
  • Less is more when it comes to time on hand. I didn’t drive to the ends-of-the-earth just to get them from one activity to another, then back home
  • Less is more: I pull into the garage with more gas in the tank; we eat dinner together; limit perfunctory questions and remarks wherever possible [what was the most interesting thing that happened today? vs. so, how was your day?]
  • Less is more: a lot less time in front of a screen [TV, computer, vid game, e.g.] and more reading, you know, a book

The end game is something I relish. I envision a plan not to plan anything at all.

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Light Chaser

Am I the only one–if not one of the very few–that doesn’t object to the return of “Eastern Standard Time” in New England?

I refer to this change as back to “real time” much to the chagrin of most everyone around me. There are plusses and minuses–like everything else–but for me, this is not a big deal and I for one like that extra hour of sleep.

Chasing the light with a camera in hand is very therapeutic for me.  The time of day, whether early or late, contains a salve that takes the edge off my depression.

Light can be a fantastic muse. It’s never exactly the same yet it can provide similar if not familiar feelings for one person to the next.  I love chasing the light…

 

 

Solitude Found

However I feel and wherever I am, I try to find solitude. It’s a quiet that renews me because I can be myself.  Solitude encourages me not only to reflect, but to jettison the ill-feelings of comparisons and expectations.  The Rolling Stones, rock classic, Satisfaction, is so very telling:

“…When I’m watchin’ my TV and a man comes on and tells me
How white my shirts can be
But, he can’t be a man ’cause he doesn’t smoke
The same cigarettes as me…”

I’m not equating isolation with solitude, as the former suggests being devoid of sensory inputs.  No, this is about a mindfulness that keeps at bay the disquiet of our modern life.  Turn off the radio, the TV, the podcast, et al. Though it may be easier–if all too obvious–to find solitude when completely alone, that is unnecessary.  Solitude can manifest itself anywhere. Don’t you find solitude at a social event [even at work] when you can momentarily remove yourself to a space that doesn’t invade your thinking and feeling?  Step away, even for a moment, to find some quiet, some calm, some level of respite.

We’ve yielded to wanting impressions that don’t add genuine value to our sense of self: number of likes, tweets, comments, “friends”, postings and so forth.  Allow yourself to be your own best company.

Seeking Selectivity

There’s an ageless argument in photography involving 2 camps, one staunchly defending B&W as “more real” than color images, and of course vice-versa.  Who’s right? Or wrong?

My take on this may seem like a cop-out, but choosing one over the other because it’s “more real” doesn’t resonate with me. The interpretation of any photograph is highly personal, so regardless of an image presented in B&W or color–or combinations of both–what you feel makes the image real.

Some days, I see and feel things that tell me to shoot B&W. Similarly, it goes the other direction where my sensitivities lean to color, even one particular color.

Yet these images can confound the entire argument because of my resolute commitment to personally see or find things that prompts a connection. Are these photographs less real because of my choice in isolating or selecting an object, shape, color or theme?

A Somber Trait

Much of human history is peppered with a notion that when we don’t understand the unknown, we become defensive, fearful and hesitant. Granted the opposite is also true; we can become bold, curious and willing to take a chance. There’s a dichotomy between assumptions and reactions.  The sentiments in the plaque attest to these notions. Just where you straddle this dichotomous line depends on how you define yourself.

A commencement address given a few years ago might shed some light on my post. It was delivered by Tim Minchin, an alum of the University of Western Australia. His career path is one created by an awareness for all things sentient. Minchin reminds me of my own college journey in liberal arts; I found such great value in what and how you feel in terms of art, music, literature, philosophy and all those disciplines of study that pre-dated this notion that mindfulness and empathy and emotional intelligence are somehow new constructs of our modern, western world.

In his comments, his last 3 points made in impression of sorts:

#7) define yourself with what you love, not what you hate; #9) respect people with less power than you, and #9) don’t rush…

Are you leaning more to one side or the other of that dichotomous line…?