Feb 13, 2012

Time Management for the Hopelessly Disorganized


Yeah. Sure. I’m one to talk. Sadly, I fall into the “hopelessly disorganized” category. But recently, I’ve been turning my brain toward thoughts of goals and strategies. I’m one of those silly people who tends to over-book, run around in circles like that silly chicken outside my office window, (honest, there is literally, a chicken outside my office window running circles around the chicken yard,) and work myself into in-action via the over-whelming sense of having too much to do.

But there’s a solution for us ADD, organic processing types! Most organization gurus suggest making lists of the things you want to accomplish, then checking them off when once accomplished. That’s the simplified version of what most organizers tell you to do, but essentially, they’re all the same: make a list. Why? Because people who “organize” do so because it gives them comfort. Yeah, me too. But didn’t I just say I work myself into a lather of in-action when I feel overwhelmed? And those lists just tend to overwhelm me.

So I decided to go at it from a backwards approach. I made a list of all that I had accomplished over the past week. And it looked something like this:

• Transported kids to various classes. (BTW, we “home” school, which means very little of what the kids do that can be construed as academic is performed at home.)
• Completed all the props for a local community theater production
• Polyurethaned upstairs hall, (first and second coats.)
• Worked at the family’s antique shop one day
• Installed a ceiling light, (a real learning curve for me,)
• Attended a theater “talk back” for the same play for which I constructed all of the props
• Finished continuity edits on a book, uploaded it, created the cover and waiting on proof copies. (I almost forgot about that little snippet of accomplishment.)
• Painted walls in upstairs hall, (second coat.)

And that’s just off the top of my head, thinking back over the past week. I wonder how much stuff I left out? Well, I didn’t include the everyday stuff like laundry, cooking, and the fun stuff like going out for my birthday and playing cards with the family.

Most of us have this ideal (usually unrealistic) image of what we are meant to accomplish in the course of a week or a day and when we don’t meet that ideal, or we don’t accomplish everything on the list, we so often take it out on ourselves. That’s never a positive thing – to beat yourself up over what you didn’t accomplish. That just wastes time that might have been spent accomplishing something not on the list. So today, I’m going to celebrate the things I accomplished the previous day. In looking back over the morning, I can pat myself on the back. I ran a load of laundry, vacuumed the foyer and polyurethaned the stairs - all before 10AM. (Hope the kid sleeping upstairs doesn’t wake up any time soon.)

So that’s my solution. Lighten up. Cut yourself some slack. Celebrate yesterday’s accomplishments! Oh yeah, and next Sunday, I’ll be at the First Ladies Tea Parlor in Newport News, VA for a book/writer chat titled, “Sirens and Werewolves and Teens. Oh My: Beyond Boys Who Sparkle”. I’d love to see some of you there and you can share with me some of the things you have accomplished this week.

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