~ The Plan ~

It is mid-November. People usually make their resolutions in September or the start of the New Year. Not me. I am starting on November 16th, and vow that by Christmas I am going to:

1. have a clean house

2. be so organized I will not be able to stand myself

3. have all my book work caught up; and have a plan to keep it up

November

November (Photo credit: Cape Cod Cyclist)

4. renew my “plan” made last March

The following is taken from a column I wrote that appeared in the Kingsville Reporter in March (and on this blog too–but only two people seem to have read it, hence the repeat. I have edited it to fit this sunny month of November):

The plan is to walk every morning; the plan is to have time set aside for writing and (somewhat begrudgingly) managing a home office; the plan is to keep my home if not in domestic bliss, at least not a candidate for the program “Hoarders”; and the plan is to fix meals with an eye to nutrition.

That is the basic plan, with a few variables thrown in—editing a college essay or advising my college age son who lives two hours away on the mysteries of cooking (which though I have not in any way mastered, I have fairly successfully fed a family of four for over a quarter of a century). And to my credit and great relief no one has ever gotten ill from my cooking in the last thirty something years. (There was that incident when I made lasagna from scratch in university for some friends—but I no longer speak of it.) I also provide an ear for my eldest son, and hand out unsolicited advice to both he and his brother—I figure some of it sticks even if it is unacknowledged.

Office management is the hardest part of my plan. I have worked in offices, but in those offices I have had bosses. In this office I am the boss and I am just a little bit too laid back. I would fire me in a minute if I could.

Keeping the house off the television program “Hoarders” is also part of ‘the’ plan. I would give myself a C most days on my housekeeping skills, but on a good day I can see a B- in my future. My cooking skills are a solid B, as long as you do not give me demerit points for convenience foods that come in really handy sometimes. I have friends who ask me in the morning what we are having for supper—and most of the time I have no idea. I think this lends a bit of serendipity to everyday life. Serendipity sometimes translates into a roasted chicken with all the fixings; serendipity also translates into warming up a pre-packaged lasagna dinner.

So, that is my plan for mid-November. How about you–do you have big plans to complete before the holiday season–or am I just a crazy person?

English: A bokeh of Christmas lights.

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

My To Do List ~ The Sorry Story

to do list

to do list (Photo credit: ebby)

How did I do with the first “To do” list I posted last week? Since you, my readers are clamouring for an update (okay only one of you asked—but that is all I need), I will tell you how I did. The list will be in italics and my response in a regular font.  I know you can’t wait to see how I made out (yes, Sheldon, that was sarcasm):

1. First things first: I must write my On The Homefront column for the week for my newspaper deadline, which is Monday, and as of 6:45 on Sunday night, have no idea what the topic will be.

This is one of those things that have to be done every week. Yes I completed it, but due to its nature, have to do it again this week. The only time this is ever taken off my list is the week between Christmas and the New Year, as it is a holiday for the whole newspaper staff.

2. Write up council news taken from last week’s council meeting—discounting all the drainage and sewage discussions,…

Again this is something I have to do every week, except for the above noted holiday.

3. Write up the article for the Wine, Writers and Words Workshop.

This makes it way to this week’s list and for Monday’s deadline. Sometimes I have leeway with things that have happened, but not things that are going to happen.

4. Continue doing book work for our company.

Ongoing, and another one for this week’s list—I so hate paperwork and filing, and numbers—I like words!

5. Get everything into files—

I don’t want to talk about it.

Time Management

Time Management (Photo credit: Intersection Consulting)

6. Get some groceries and plan meals. Sounds easy but it is not. Or not for me. Will let you know how I do here.

This is one of those things that rears its ugly head week after week after week after (you get my drift). I did do it, but it has to be done again in a few days.

7. Get the house in some semblance of order which means get the pile of clothes off the bed and into the closet or drawers. Seriously, I cannot die suddenly, as my bedroom is in such a terrible mess I would be blushing in the next life over what I left behind.

Thinking about having a living will that says no one is allowed in my bedroom after I die except my husband. This is a mean thing to do to him, but at least finally the bedroom will be clean.

8. Email my youngest son, Tyler who is at college and my sister Peggy every day. Expect to hear back from Peggy. Be surprised if Ty ever emails back. (I am one of his free calls on his phone, so we do talk often).

Did this religiously, may have missed one day for each of them. As predicted, my sister writes back, but Tyler calls.

9. Do some kind of  post for this blog every day; keep up with my blogging friends.

So for the first week in a long time, I think I missed posting for a day. It was probably my rebellion due to the fact that it was on the list.

10. Prepare a presentation for my Writers’ Group about blogging.

I was going to email them at the last minute to say I did not do it, but pulled myself up by my frayed bootstraps and did it. It was not really that hard because so many of you helped me out with your suggestions—so I used your responses to provide them with answers from a variety of people, instead of just me. That is my story and I am sticking to it.

11. Work on my October book and an intro to my On The Homefront book—thinking of calling it “The Worst of On The Homefront.”

I did both of these this morning before I wrote up this account of my To Do list so I could say that I had done them.

The good thing about “To do” lists is that you do some of it because you have to, you rebel against some of it (which does not really pay off in the end as you still have to do them), and it makes you do things you know you should. The best thing is that I finally went back to my book-in-waiting “Always October”  with a new twist that will help move it forward, and I got a good start on my “On The Homefront” book by writing up part of the introduction.

All in all, I would give myself an A+. (I am a pretty easy marker unless I am marking other people’s papers.)

Published in: on October 20, 2012 at 1:52 pm  Comments (31)  
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

~My Wish List for this Week ~ October 15 to October 20~

Homefront-USB-Stick (4GB)

Homefront-USB-Stick (4GB) (Photo credit: THQ Deutschland)

It is Sunday night, and we are on the cusp of another work week. Thought I might list some of the  things I need to get done this week and check it out at the end of the week and see if I made any progress.

There are a number of bloggers who make a list of things they need to get done or just want to get done during the week, post it, and then  survey their successes at the end of the week and gauge how they have done. It seems to work for them, and since I have not posted an Organizing Post for a long time, this should serve to catch me up. Without further ado, here is my To Do List for October 15th – 20th:

1. First things first: I must write my On The Homefront column for the week for my newspaper deadline, which is Monday, and as of 6:45 on Sunday night, have no idea what the topic will be.

2. Write up council news taken from last week’s council meeting—discounting all the drainage and sewage discussions this leaves me with a few hot topics: the parade that stood in danger of being cancelled; expansion of more greenhouses; and a development that got a reprieve and approval even though they “forgot” to meet their deadline. I am sure  a few more things will pop up when I peruse the agenda again.

3. Write up the article for the Wine, Writers and Words Workshop I helped organize for deadline so it makes it in this week’s paper.

4. Continue doing book work for our company. This involves a lot of filing, figuring, and finagling.  I found out this week that being half-organized  is almost worse than being totally unorganized. I just assume that nothing is in its place, and everything is unfiled and not where it should be–so  that when I find I have actually put some things where they belong I am surprised, so my next goal is –

5. Get everything into files—I have started a system, so now I just have to keep at it. I just have to retrace my half-organized steps so I do not have three files with the same name (you may not think this is possible, but in my world it is.)

6. Get some groceries and plan meals. Sounds easy but it is not. Or not for me. Will let you know how I do here. At least I have cleaned the fridge of any wanton leftovers from Thanksgiving.

7. Get the house in some semblance of order which means  get the pile of clothes off the bed and into the closet or drawers. Seriously, I cannot die suddenly, as my bedroom is in such a terrible mess I would be blushing in the next life over what I left behind.

8. Email my youngest son, Tyler who is at college and my sister Peggy every day. Expect to hear back from Peggy. Be surprised if Ty ever emails back. (I am one of his free calls on his phone, so we do talk often).

9. Do some kind of  post for this blog every day; keep up with my blogging friends.

10. Prepare a presentation for my Writers’ Group about blogging. (Something many of you have already generously contributed to.)

11. Work on my October book and an intro to my On The Homefront book—thinking of calling it “The Worst of On The Homefront.”

Okay, think I am getting carried away a bit here, but it will be interesting to see what I can cross off, what I can take a bite out of, and what goes by the wayside. Actually, on review, I am exhausted—whose idea was this anyway? This week may prove to be a long road with no turning,….

English: Fishes and Peggy Hill Farm One of tho...

A long road  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Published in: on October 15, 2012 at 12:33 am  Comments (50)  
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Manifest This!

Mercedes-Benz HighPerformanceEngines

Mercedes-Benz HighPerformanceEngines (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“…the way a man does one thing is the way he does everything.”

~written in Zen according to Regina Leeds

I will be the first to admit that I take instructions well, if I like the instructions. Case in point: Regina Leeds, in her book “One Year to an Organized Work Life” suggests that we create a dream board as a prelude to getting organized. She says that by taking on this project “you invite your inner thoughts and longings to rise to the surface; you will discover more of who you really are and what you’d like to manifest in your life.”

I am not too sure I want to discover more of who I am, but I would not mind doing a little manifesting—which is a term that seems to be thrown around a lot these days. Manifesting according to the Manifesting Your Dreams website is the “process to create what we want in our lives by bringing ideas and desires into physical form.”  Alrighty, then. According to Leeds, one of the ways to bring our ideas and desires into physical form is to cut and paste “images that correspond to the life you want” onto some poster board.

Anything that involves cutting and pasting is right up my alley. I can cut and paste with the best of them. So I gathered a bunch of magazines together and perused the pages, looking for things to manifest. Manifesting sounds like a lot more fun than organizing– maybe I can “manifest” my way to being organized.

Calling this exercise “simple, creative, inexpensive and powerful” Leeds believes that once the board is completed and you keep it in a prominent place, you will be inspired to go in the direction that it leads you. So, just where is my dream board leading me?

It immediately becomes apparent that I am not averse to the good life and all it entails.  I have a picture of a house which is a little smaller than a mansion, and a little bigger than one really needs; a Mercedes-Benz logo; a pile of cash with the word millionaire placed strategically across it; and a fine bottle of wine. But if you fear I may become a bit crass, I do have a whole corner of my poster board devoted to family life, home and good food; another area dedicated  to good health; and smack dab in the middle, a picture of my dream “ home” office, organized to the ‘nth’ degree.

The words “giving” , “smiles”, “friendships”, “laugh out loud”, “imagination”, “logic and emotion” (a seemingly weird and at odds combo), “gratitude” and “live life graciously” are dotted among the pictures.  The whole right hand lower corner of my dream board has a number of travel destinations listed that I want to manifest (how I am going to go to Hawaii without boarding a plane though is a mystery to me).

The centre of the dream board features a quote by Humbert Wolfe, a poet who was born in 1885. He said; “Listen! The wind is rising and the air is wild with leaves. We have had our summer evening, now for October eves.” This celebrates my love of all things autumn, and of course there is a picture of my favourite fruit of all—the pumpkin. (I know I cannot manifest Fall all the time, but that is what gets me through our hot, humid summers.)

There is also a picture of a drawer, with neat little compartments, and everything in its place. This denotes my need for organization. Under it are these word by the graphic artist, M.C. Escher: “We adore chaos because we love to produce order.”

Creating a dream board is introspective, and it took me months to do it because I had to talk myself out of thinking that it was silly. But it appeals to my sense of order, and if something comes of all this manifesting stuff, all the better. (Tried to talk my husband into doing a dream board, but his heart was just not in it. Guess he is not as enamoured with cutting and pasting as I am.)

Control Freak

Meyerheim: Three children playing "hide a...

Meyerheim: Three children playing “hide and seek” in a forest (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This was written before I started on my official quest to become organized–

Enlightenment can be a painful thing. You would think that once you have come to a realization about something then that particular clarification would give you insight into how to tackle the problem at hand.  But what if that problem is you?

I am reading yet another book on how to get organized. This one is called “One Year To An Organized Work Life” by Regina Leeds. I am hoping to find a filing system that will work for my particular situation, since the one I have now, which I like to term “hide and go seek” is not working for me. I know that when you put something in a file, label it, then file it, you should be able to find it again. I know this. I am just trying to find out why this theory is not working for me.  Hence I am the problem here. (I think the disconnect comes somewhere after “label it” and before “file it”.)

But solving that dilemma is not what caught my attention. The book is meant to be read over a year’s time, and we are supposed to take the full year to put the actions suggested into play. Of course that is not how I am using the book—I am reading it from front to back in as short a time as possible and taking notes (not copious or I would never get through it) to remind myself of the points I should enact.

I skipped forward to the month of June for some reason and came across the chapter called “Dealing With Difficult People”. Since I generally work alone this does not particularly apply to my situation, but then I came across the section called “When the Difficult Person Is You”.  Thinking this might have some intelligence I might gain wisdom from, I read the section, and winced, then chuckled. The author was once an actress and found herself in a personal “situation” that makes her point. She says,

“I learned a big lesson many years ago when I was a professional actress. I was in a play and there was a lull in the dialogue. It was probably a  heartbeat in time, but when you’re on stage it feels like ten minutes of dead air. Just as I smugly thought to myself, ‘I wonder who the idiot is who has the next line?’ I realized I was the idiot. I did not have to jump in and cover for another actor. I had to cover for myself.”

Now admit it, something similar has probably happened to you.  I think we all have, with a tad bit of self-assured smugness thought that someone else was responsible for a gaffe when in fact we were the culpable party. I know I have been guilty of this, and I would share my experiences with you, but they are a bit too embarrassing. Over the years my gaffes have waned somewhat, not because with age comes wisdom, but with age comes “been there, done that, don’t want to do it again.”

The key, the author says, to dealing with difficult people is to recognize them for who they are. Since we generally know ourselves pretty well this should not be too gruelling. She categorizes difficult people into three groups: the naysayers, the control freak, and the underminer. If I were honest, I would have to say that I am a closet control freak. Now if you got a look at my house right now, it would be apparent to you that my control freakiness is not in how neat I keep my house, (though deep inside I am a really neat person, and someday I am going to let that person out).

I try to keep my control freak under wraps, but she comes out when people (read: my husband John) wear their work boots in the house—you know the kind—with deep ridges that hold tons of dirt, then when you walk the dirt is deposited in the ghost of the footsteps left behind? I like sand on the beach, not in my carpet. Sometimes I do not complain. Sometimes I just get the vacuum out, but there are other times…well, we won’t go there.

Update 3 – Some Successes

MSI laptop computer

MSI laptop computer (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have decided that I should post my successes and not just make fun of my failures. Right now my laptop is no longer on the dining room table as it was in my first organizing -101 post; I have cleared away most of my old agendas from council meetings I attend for my job at the newspaper; the dining room table was used for an actual meal yesterday (a birthday celebration for my oldest son Adam, he turned 26); and I have started filing the myriad of papers that need filing.

My blue box is full; I put new ink in the printer; and right now I am trying to figure out why all the icons I have on my home page are humongous on my laptop – have an urgent email to my youngest son who is away at college–he should get back to me in a day or two. Actually he calls rather than emails, but that is okay too. By the way, our illustrious Governor General emailed his daughters everyday when they were in university, so I believe I have it on good authority that I am not a helicopter mom, just someone who likes to communicate with my child on a daily basis–and he gets to ignore it.

A few more notes from my notes from Regina Leeds’ book: “One Year to an Organized Work Life”. Since I took the time to take the notes, I thought I would share them–like my son who ignores my emails, you can ignore these offerings, or hug them to your soul–your choice:

Since I stopped at number 4, I will begin at 5:

5. Focus on the future not the past. (Pithy advice–I like this)

6. Have faith (she does not say have faith in yourself or in a higher being, but I guess either one is a good choice, and both a bonus.)

7. Set one goal at a time so you won’t get overwhelmed

Okay, I am going to set one goal at a time so I do not get overwhelmed–I am going to start making my bed everyday–and not just throw the covers and quilt up over the bed in my usual willy nilly slipshod fashion. Will let you know how it goes,…..

Oh, I talked to my computer savvy son, seems I just had to right click on the mouse and choose my icon size–if you are wondering I chose medium.

Published in: on March 9, 2012 at 9:17 pm  Comments (7)  
Tags: ,

Taking Up the Gauntlet

It has only been a little over three months since I have written for Organizing -101 so I thought I should take up the gauntlet and let you know what has transpired over the last little while.

I have cleaned up the initial mess in the dining room—some of it has been replaced with more files and things to be filed, some of it has been recycled, and… well, some of it has not yet been dealt with. But the good news is–I have found the top of my dining room table.

From the book, “One Year to an Organized Life” by Regina Leeds I have gleaned a few hints, a few bits of wisdom if you will, that may help guide me on my way to a somewhat organized life.  I took a few notes from her first chapter and thought I would share a few of them with you. They are supposed to give me “inner peace”.

Without further ado, here are the first four:

1. Make your bed every day. (Sounds easy, but for some, like me, who think that we are only going to get back in the bed at the end of the day, it seems like a waste of time. But I understand the wisdom—and if making my bed is going to give me inner peace then I will give it a whirl. Some of you reading this will be appalled to find out that some people do not make their bed every day—I am not one of those people, but maybe by the end of this exercise I will be.

2. Walk at least 5 minutes. (No problem—I have this under control.)

3. Find a routine.

4. Okay – they seem to get harder from here on in: Come up with a blueprint for Achieving your Goals by

(i) Figuring out what you want

(ii) Ascertaining steps to bring to fruition

(iii) Scheduling these steps in a logical way

And last but not least:

(iv) set a target date and a plan to reach the target date

Okay, I am going to work on the “make the bed every day” commandment for a while, and figure out what I want before I start ascertaining, scheduling, or finding a routine.

Bed Jump

Bed Jump (Photo credit: jamesjyu)

In the meantime, I will leave you with these words from Joseph Campbell:

“Follow your bliss and don’t be afraid, and doors will open where you didn’t know they were going to be.”

Dreams Do Come True

Name That Shakespeare Play!

Name That Shakespeare Play! (Photo credit: Tracy Lee)

Intro to Organizing -101

I have a sign that says “Dreams…do come true” casually propped up on a bookshelf in my library/office/dining room/really, really messy, messy room. Over the doorway of the same room is a quilted homespun sign with this message: “A clean house is the sign of a life misspent.” Suffice to say that I have not misspent my life, at least in the clean house category.

My decades old dream is to become organized. And the fact that I may live for another 40 years, it is a worth pursuing. (Mind you I will be really close to 100 years of age, but they are predicting that we will live longer these days.) I also would like to have a clean house, and finally take down the quilted sign which is brown with age, and curling at one corner in a most unattractive manner.

Let me introduce you to my office, which is one of the rooms in my house that needs to be organized (this is the understatement of all understatements.) It is where I write and meet deadlines for the weekly newspaper I work for, as well as articles for magazines and a variety of other venues (who am I kidding here, I write for whoever will pay me). I am also supposed to be the office manager for my husband’s contracting/kitchen remodelling business. I am not a really good office manager. I really dislike paperwork, which may sound odd for someone who writes, but paperwork and writing are diametrically opposed. I do some minor bookkeeping, which I do not altogether understand, but our accountant walks me through it. He speaks to me in short sentences and words I mostly understand. I have a decent education, but all the courses I took in Shakespeare do not help me with rudimentary math.

English: Wooden File Cabinet with drawer open....

English: Wooden File Cabinet with drawer open. Taken by me. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The whole song and dance about bookwork explains why this room is so messy, as my filing system is remarkable (I know this as my husband John remarks on it all the time). In a nutshell, I am afraid to file things away. I am an “out of sight, out of mind” kind of girl. I am an “outie” not an “innie” when it comes to filing, and I am not referring to any parts of my anatomy. There have been studies done that prove that some people can file things away and actually find them again, and others need everything out in a jumble, to sift through every month in order to keep their books, and every year to do their income tax returns. (I will tell you the Christmas cake story later to prove my point that I should not put things “away”).

My office consists of two longs desks (which are really flat doors that my husband framed) set on a number of filing cabinets. There is a lot of stuff in the filing cabinets, some of it well over twenty years old that I have been meaning to throw out or re-file. The desks form a kind of L-shape against two walls. Right now one desk shares my writing work files with John’s business files and financial files, plus piles of newspapers I still have to clip my column out of. ( I write a weekly column, which you can partake of in this blog–called  coincidentally– On The Homefront and Beyond.)

The other desk has a phone, a printer/copier, a dictionary the size of a small house, and more files and papers destined at some stage to be put away, plus a myriad of bills, and important papers that I must look at–someday for some reason.

In the middle of the room is our dining room table with my laptop, surrounded by (you guessed it) more papers and receipts, and right now Christmas cards and last night’s copy of the Agenda for the municipal Council meeting I attended and have to write up. My day book is laying there forlorn, almost forgotten, and a calculator sits at the ready for me to finish this month’s bookwork (as well as the last 12 months). There is a lace tablecloth on the table to remind me that this is a multi-tasking room and not just an office. There are occasions (though few and far between) when I actually clean off the table, and we eat glorious and festive meals gathered around it. I believe Thanksgiving was the last time in recent memory.

As this blog entry is getting a bit long, I will continue later, but I think you are getting the point–the success of the rest of my life really does depend on me getting organized. I have a number of books I will be calling on to point me down the right path, and will tell you more tomorrow (or the next day, remember I am just getting organized, I am nowhere close to reaching my goal yet.) Oh, in case you were wondering, that is a minus sign in front of organizing–this is not like Economics 101 or Psych 101–it is me learning how to be organized, not teaching. I am just taking you along on the journey.

Hope you stick with me–

Published in: on November 30, 2011 at 8:30 pm  Comments (2)  
Tags: , , , , , ,
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 619 other followers