Sometime when I was back in college, I found a nifty painting of the number 5, surrounded by red and gold and strong diagonals that drew the eye. I didn’t know the name or artist, but put the picture in the scrapbook, as 5 is my favorite number.
Recently, I just started a job where the person I am working for has an ideal schedule of ≤5 hours of meetings a day. Assuming an eight-hour work day, ≤5 hours gives her time to move between meeting locations, accomplish assignments from the meetings, reduce the amount of work she takes home, leave the office at a reasonable time, etc., etc. In other words, she stands a chance of having a work/life balance. She impressed upon me that this was not some pie-in-the sky goal, but a serious necessity for her overall happiness, health and efficacy. I decided that this guiding principle should be called the Rule of 5.
I thought I should hang in my office a reminder to adhere to the Rule of 5 in all my scheduling endeavors, so I immediately recalled the dramatic 5 painting from my scrapbook. Tragically, since my scrapbook had been lost, I couldn’t just pull the poster and bring to work. I had to find the mystery painting on the Internet.
I tried “no. five” as search terms on Google, since I remembered those words in the painting, but that mostly brought up Jackson Pollock’s work. Nope.
I then tried an image search for “no. five,” and the sixth result showed the painting I remembered. It’s called “The Figure 5 in Gold” by Charles Demuth, and it’s a portrait of his friend, William Carlos Williams, through a visual interpretation of Williams’ poem “The Great Figure.” Judith Dobrzynski writes a lucid overview of the painting’s context and significance in the Wall Street Journal.
Anyway, now I have a print-out of the painting on my bulletin board at work, for professional and aesthetic reasons.