(Unrelated: I’m composing this from my sunny backyard, with noise-making creatures all around. Central Texas springtime is springing.)
affordance. plural affordances. psychology. : the qualities or properties of an object that define its possible uses or make clear how it can or should be used.
Last week, and a good slug of the week before that, I did not open my day-planner, much less go through my evening and morning rituals of identifying my ‘what’s next’ for the day.
Mostly because for a few weeks prior to that, I had been going through the motions, rightly identifying my priorities and then completely ignoring what I’d written. And rewriting them. And re-ignoring them. And. And.
There is only so much lying to oneself that a psyche can take. (Which is the essence of what’s happening there, as Jennifer Louden wisely points out.)
On the other hand, operating from memory doesn’t yield strong results either. As last night I stared down the barrel of this week, I pulled out Momentum Planner daily pages, on the off chance part of my difficulty was that I needed a leettle more structure. Only when I tucked them in at 8:45pm did I discover the month has shifted, and I needed to do a full March refresh. !!
Last night, for my more-structure today, I wrote down in time what I thought I’d do with my moments: theology lecture/end 11am, lunch/end 12, blog, etc. all the way to my Session team-meeting/start 7pm.
The way I write these calendar-things down, however, doesn’t have “Talk after class with K about My Bright Abyss, production values for mainline denomination professors’ books, and the things we learned and keep learning from our conservative evangelical friends (that we don’t have access to at our aforesaid mainline denominational school).”
It threw my pencilled day for a half-hour loop. (The side trip to Staples for printed-out reading assignments was the other half-hour.)
One of the reasons I persist in living my life in its current fashion is that I find it important to talk that talking. To halt in front of something that looks interesting and study it. And, naturally, to write things when the writing shows up in addition to the times when I sit down and call it to me.
My other versions of my life don’t really have space for that. Back then I took the space (time), mind you, but the compression that those days contain means that every expansive move just squeezes everything else a little more. Until–for me–circulation is cut off, and I can barely breathe.
But the risk of leaving wide open spaces is there’s all this room for ‘eating Peeps.’
I found the word “affordance” early in my MLIS. It was the early (early!) days of user-centered web design, though User eXperience (a.k.a. UX) was already part of software life. Per the definition, affordance started out as a way to talk about humans and physical spaces, but the people responsible for digital spaces found it helpful too.
Affordances are the ‘handles’… handles as in what one reaches for and grabs, handles as the nicknames that make it easy to engage with some-one or -thing.
I wish I could figure out better affordances to my life-rhythms. What strategy am I missing
to stabilize the tension between breaking my self-promises and sliding into slug-like stasis?
…the tiny signs are pushing their stubborn selves forward if one takes a moment to look…