Saturday, August 22, 2009

Getting Organized

"I Choose, I Decide, I Will"

There is no doubt in my mind that being somewhat organized leads to a more beautiful life. There is nothing beautiful about being upset because you can't find your keys, run out of necessary items, and have a general sense of being out of control.

I have adult ADD so organizing has been a lifelong priority for me. I always feel like I'm slightly out of control but by honing my coping skills, things tend to go better and my nerves are calmer. These skills are usable by anyone to smooth out the bumps in their lives.

Over the years I have probably tried every method ever invented to keep myself on track. Some worked quite well and others caused more problems than they solved. And different methods work at different times in our lives.

For a few years I did quite well with a Planner Pad book, but I found as my number of actual appointments diminished per day, the section for appointments was just too big and didn't address my current needs. The Planner Pad is also quite expensive and being a natural cheapskate, I really didn't want to shell out the money. The Planner Pad is based loosely on David Allan's "Getting Things Done" funnel approach . David has some fine idea's but I think his whole approach is based too much on planning and less on actually doing things.

This year I made my own book which my husband was eager to print up and bind. That whole project seemed way too laborious for my easily overwhelmed mind so out came my ruler and after I found the perfect notebook (a Notebound from Walgreen's - really nice smooth paper), I ruled off 7 columns for the days and split the page in three sections. The top section is for all the things I wish to accomplish that week, each in its own little category. My categories are: home, business, garden, personal, and "need".

Each week or two I do a "brain drain", located on a page in the back of the book. Absolutely anything that hits my little mind goes on that page. Everything! If I want to take a trip to Europe or build a pond, it goes in my Brain Drain. When I plan my current week, I simply refer to this brain drain and decide what I would like to accomplish and put it in its category for the week. From there I can "funnel" my activities to the middle section, which is my "to do" list for each day.

The bottom section is reserved for notes and the occasional time sensitive appointment such as doctor or vet. Some extras I add are the projected temps for each day. Temperatures and other weather info dictate much of what happens in my garden so it is important that I know these things in order to plan my outside work.

I also have the motto "I Decide, I Choose, I Will", written in green to keep me from the negative "I Have To" thinking. I tied a ribbon on the coil so I could find my week in a hurry and I use different colored ink just because its makes it more fun. If you click on the pictures it will enlarge and you can actually see what a completely boring life I lead. heh

Now this is important, so read carefully. It is perfectly ok, in fact I encourage you, to write in anything you accomplished that wasn't on your "to do" list, and proudly cross it off. It is important to know all that you do in order to foster a climate of success.

I keep my book on the dining room table, forcing me to look at it with my first cup of coffee. I have two or three excellent books to recommend if you are a typical over whelmed human in a busy world so check out the list below

In the coming days:

Art journaling
Artist worth collecting
What's on your nightstand
Letter writing
Siberian Iris
For the love of lavender
Cord covers
Arranging bookshelves

Saving Money
More daylilies
Building ponds, a journey


Kalona said...

I love your "brain drain" notebook, Adrienne! What a good idea. I'd be a lot more organized if I stayed off the computer.

An employer once sent me to a Priority Management class, and when I'm really overwhelmed, I fall back on that, using my notebook religiously (for awhile).

Back in the '80s, I used the Side-Tracked Home Executive's notecard system, which worked well for me, too. I still have the box of cards somewhere, and should pull them out and use them!

What I like about your notebook is that it is very personally yours.

I'm glad you posted the link to this blog. I'm bookmarking it now.

Adrienne said...

Kalona - I used the card system way back when but found that I really need to see the whole week at a time rather than fuss with little cards.

That is my only problem with "Order from Chaos". Liz Davenport insists you must use a one page per day planner. I'm sure for some folks that is a really good idea but I really need to see the whole week.

As for staying off the computer -well, duh to all of us!! When I take a few days break I'm amazed at the amount of stuff I get done.

Sarah - Kala said...

First off, whatever works, yeah?
Secondly, you have gorgeous penmanship!

Mrsupole said...

I have accepted the fact that I will never be organized and that sure makes life easier. But that does look nice. Maybe some day I will try it. And staying off the computer really would help, but oh I just cannot. Sigh.

God bless.

Adrienne said...

Sarah - thank you. I still work on making my penmanship better. I loved teaching penmanship to my 4th graders when I taught for a few years. I don't think they even teach it anymore.

Adrienne said...

Mrsupole - Because of my lifelong (undiagnosed until a few years ago) ADD, I've had to learn how to cope. One thing I don't do is beat up on myself and live with the constant worry of not being "organized enough". I've learned to accept there will be days that will just slide down some black hole.

Anonymous said...

you have beautiful handwriting :-)

MightyMom said...

here's a pic of our family calendar on the garage/kitchen door

I also have a "daytimer" like version that's more portable. I only use the monthataglance pages...anything less is useless.

most weeks I write out a couple goals for the week (my goal posts each wed) and at the start of 2 or 3 days each week I'll write out a "todo" list~~very similar to your brain drain, then as I get time/bored I'll work my way down the list, what doesn't get done goes on a new list.. I've found that anything more rigid is overwhelming and I don't get started.

Adrienne said...

MM - I think for having 3 kids and working outside the home, your system is perfect. What I do now would not have worked for me when I worked for me when I worked a regular job.

We also have a big fridge calendar that I made that has two weeks at a time, each day split into two columns - one for hubby and one for me. The main reason for that is because of hubbies changing teaching schedule of private students. I have to know when I can do certain things (like run around nekkid) because we have a stream of students coming and going.

Adrienne said...

What in he** did I say in that first sentence??????????????? You're smart - I'm sure you can figure it out. heh

Lola said...

Thank you Adrienne.

You are part of an answer to a prayer. This idea of 'organizing' time is something I might be able to do. Too many organizing systems as you stated, are a bunch of extra work. I need a gentle reminder. Not another to do for my list.

I know I must have ADD. When I used to work for a paycheck, I got my work done, I did it well, but unfortuantly I accomplished it under too much stress...

And you do have gorgeous penmanship! Was it the nuns?

Thank you so much for sharing.

Katie said...

This is a great way of combining brain dumps with planning. I get so tired of gathering all my little notepads and used envelopes and written-on receipts (desperately hoping I found all my notes) and transferring them into my calendar blindly. Or, better yet, making another list, this time on just one piece of paper, making notations all over that, and then putting it on my calendar. I'm going to have to try this all-in-one approach!

Adrienne said...

Katie - Yep - keep it all in one place. The Planner Pad had such a large area for appointments and I didn't need that anymore so I finally made my own system.

Thanks for stopping by...