~ 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 (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)


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.