Sidebars— I can recall being attracted to the possibilities of a SIDEBAR ‘back in the day’. Print publishing an article opened an opportunity to choose at least one point in the article to address in a separate small article expanding upon that point. Not only was writing a SIDEBAR a delightful research challenge, the action meant more money for me! I liked that extra little space along side my article in the columns of the newspaper or magazine, just as you can read them today.
The changing world of sidebars
Fast forward to the world of the Internet where clever developers applied the term SIDEBAR to a separate information area on a website. This shouldn’t be a big problem or difference. The sidebar on early websites could expand on the topic of the website. A handy space to offer value and ample information.
Websites grew and changed, the SIDEBAR ran the risk of becoming an overstuffed catch-all for any thing that the website owner and the designer wanted to make sure you had a chance to see on your first visit to the website. They can’t take the risk that you might leave before you see all their ‘good stuff’ and never come back.
I ‘get’ that and I’ve done it with my websites and the websites of clients. Sometimes at their request and other times at my recommendation.
Going forward faster.
Technology has set us in a grand position of always being available. Not so many years ago, we had WORK TIME and NOT-WORK TIME. Now, our activities (which we sometimes justify as WORK) are at our fingertips 24/7 (I can remember a time before the expression 24/7)
The sidebars of our websites AND our lives are overstuffed. Overflowing and oozing past reasonable balance between our ‘work’ and some very important points of life — family, health, creative fulfillment, a decent night’s sleep…on and on.
There are those among us who’ve noticed the imbalance and want to make changes in their lives so they can move toward balance. Organizational coaches are offering services for your business, your laundry, your recreation, your closets and more. These changes and the balance achieved will be different for almost everyone.
From overstuffed sidebars to NO SIDEBAR
During the past year and a little, Brian Gardner has been leading a project promoting Minimal living and thinking. Simplify! I’m a long-time Gardner fan. Despite the blazing fact that I have lived a spartan existence most of my life, usually by choice, I joined his No Sidebar project. Brian and varied eloquent and committed writers provided weekly articles about the benefits of Minimalism. Brian designed some delightful WordPress themes featuring minimal design with balance and clarity on the Genesis Frame. One special theme entitled No Sidebar has been added to the theme stable at StudioPress Themes. This theme is also part of the package with Rainmaker Platform.
I read (or read at) each email/post. I honestly looked for ways I could apply the minimalist thoughts to my life for a simpler life style. We do have a few things we ‘collect’ — it seemed to me that I could have these items when they gave me joy. Occasionally I threw an old garment away because it was not a ‘contributing’ part of my wardrobe. I got rid of paper. Enjoy the thought as much as I could, there wasn’t very much solid change in my life to achieve minimalism.
Clarifying Balance and Stopping Imbalance
I admire the decision Gardner advised readers of a few weeks ago. At NoSideBar.com, he explains how he was having such a good time building a minimalist culture, it became a bit of a monster; not very minimal at all. I’ve enjoyed reading the posts from contributors, even though I am, within my cluttered space, about as minimal as I can handle; not looking to diminish further.
Sidebars for websites have become a visual item for comparison to real life. The policy, especially for retail, is to cram as much as possible into the long narrow spaces on the side or into the footer. When we look at all of the choices we have for using our time, there are enough delicious things to do to cram our extra time (sidebars) to overflowing. Between what looks ‘fun’ and ‘enriching’ to me and the activities that are the passion of friends, I can meet myself coming and going. And not taking time for roots to develop in any one thing. Passions are not grown, they are limited to the moment, all while looking around to make sure I’ve not missed some valuable, shiny thing. That’s only for my TIME. Add the accumulation in floor space, hard drives, money pits and the sidebars of life become craziness. Craziness for which the only asylum is DELETE.
While Brian and team are re-grouping to decide the future of No Sidebar, I encourage you to read their posts in place. If the future stops at this archive of thought about locking down your sidebars of life to stem overload, readers can benefit from the thoughts of folks who’ve been ‘in the sidebar trenches’ and find application for their own lives.
When No Sidebar became a mission for Brian Gardner, he wanted more control over his time (and probably energy). Where to break off the Work-Work-Work, then pursue a little Fun-Fun-Fun…when to STOP-STOP-STOP to evaluate what is the important foundational mission. That could be family, health, friends, hobbies…the things that make a person vital. Finding the balance is an eternal search. Being solely devoted to family, health, hobbies may not be as profitable as work. Without work and profit, the others face doom.
There is always ‘wiggle room’. Always a place to make a choice for balance or a choice for stupidity. Pay attention or pay a less pleasant price.
No Sidebar brought us deep thought, shared experiences, forever simple StudioPress Themes on the Genesis frame. The whole project utilized the efficiency and adventure of the new Rainmaker Platform to show us tools that can make our profitability work without having to support a multi-headed monster.