I’ve been thinking, somewhat obsessively about time management and organization (so yes, if you have looked for these books in the Washington County library system and found them all out, I would be the one who has them all).
I like things to be neat and tidy and organized. I also hate to be the one to do the tidying although I think it’s the result of the fact that I get inspired easily, and a mess builds up. Other people might use the word “distracted” where I used “inspired” but I don’t see the new ideas popping into my brain as a negative thing, rather something that needs a system of channeling that doesn’t interrupt the flow I already have. I am the kind of person who if given the chance, will start and work on the project until it’s finished without eating, and possibly without sleeping (although now that I’m older and a parent, it’s a much cherished activity, so perhaps not). I have a zone. And, this is why I haven’t painted in a long time. It’s simply not possible for me to live in that zone with child interruptus.
It feels like every second of every day, my brain is churning out ideas. Our house is littered with scraps of papers, notebooks (folded open), with lists, ideas, recipes, dates, etc. I even think of new Facebook Status updates while on the treadmill now. Ok, that’s just bizarre and I can’t believe I’m admitting that, but such is the spirit of this blog…and I digress…see, there I did it, here, while writing. (Which leads me to this thought: I’ve been asked to write for other blogs, and told I’m a good writer by writers, and I find this quite mind-blowing…I mean, really? Half of my writing is in parentheses with wanderings!).
My first attempt at time management and productivity was the Flylady. I won’t link her, because I’m sure by now that all of you have heard of her. If not, it’s called Google. Yes, I’m that lazy. Anyways, I read her book, joined her Yahoo! group, jumped on the bandwagon. Let me just say, not for me. Yes, I did learn some valuable things like purging the mail at the mailbox, and writing down the next day’s To Do’s and schedule the night before (which I only do maybe 40% of the time, otherwise I do it in the morning). In fact, I had developed a system in which I wrote in a little notebook under different headings, what needed to be done. I even included a place for appointments, events, and dinner. Nate bought me a half-size notebook with Wonder Woman on the front. It was empowering at first. Except that I rarely achieved my entire list. In an effort to encourage myself, I started listing things in minute detail, so that I could check more things off (for instance, cleaning the kitchen turned into, unload/load dishwasher, wipe counters, wipe stove, sweep floor). I still do this, and even add an element of humor; Reading, knitting, and Sudoku are all a part of my To Do list (I do these every day, so, not hard to check off!).
One might suggest I buy a planner, it would be so much simpler than writing everything out. First, I have tried multiple planners. I don’t like them (they’re too generic) and they end up being a waste of money. Second, I love the act of writing. I really like my handwriting, which, by the way, is a little different every day.
I liked Simple Mom’s post about organization and even more, her “Daily Docket,” so I copied hers, and then redesigned and made one for myself. Twice. I’m still trying to figure out what works and what doesn’t. It didn’t seem like a daily time schedule was working for me, but now that I don’t have it, I’m not so sure that it wasn’t working so much as I wasn’t working it.
I’m realizing that I might have much higher expectations of myself than what may be humanly possible. Of course, I also find that I spend more time doing the fun things like reading, knitting, and sudoku, and putting of the more dreadful things like folding clothes, cleaning the bathroom, and decluttering. Sounds like I might have to revisit the Flylady and her 27 fling boogies. It does help that I am not the only one having to do the tidying up around here (the thing I didn’t like about Flylady was her encouragement of the woman (well, the person coming to her, which were primarily women) to do everything instead of chasing round the husband and children to do their share). I copied Simple Mom’s Chore Chart, bought a bunch of prizes from Oriental Trading Company (I know, very un-green of me!), and Seth does things like make his bed, unload silverware from the dishwasher, help with laundry, take his dishes to the kitchen, pick up his toys. He very joyfully helped me fold dish towels the other day and was getting quite adept at it. Nate does his fair share (and has done more than his fair share in the past) around the house, and we split cooking duty 50/50.
Ok, so you’re probably wondering what books I’ve looked at. Here are the titles:
Absolutely Organized: A Mom’s Guide, Debbie Lillard
Bonnie’s Household Organizer, Bonnie Runyan McCullough
Organize Now!, Jennifer Berry (I like this one, it breaks things down into manageable weekly To Do’s, and it starts with organizing your mind.)
Organizing Your Day, Sandra Felton & Marsha Sims
Ready for Anything, David Allen (of Getting Things Done fame, which I haven’t read, I looked at, and it looked boring and too academic.)
I’ve also listened to an abridged version of “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” a few years ago, and may need to revisit. I’ve also been intending to read “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families” so that Nate and I can develop a mission statement (another family meeting is in order, actually). I will become more organized and productive. In the meantime, I’m going to go watch a movie with Nate.
And now, feel free to share in the comments below.