I was born organizing - joy for me in grade school included stapling shoe boxes together so that each sock color could have its own home. In high school bagging shopper's food into tidy little grocery bag specimens pervaded my dreams. For fun, I was the marching band uniform manager and one of the main promoters of well planned weekends for my gang of friends. Not surprisingly, when I graduated from college directing people, information and schedules came easily to me.
I prided myself on having everything ship-shape. By the end of the day, my desk was always neat and tidy with to-do list for the next day. My email inbox never exceeded 2o messages. Projects had follow-up dates that were carefully recorded and maintained. I even developed creepy Radar-esque abilities with my 2 favorite bosses, handing them reports and documents they needed as they opened their mouths to request them.
My desk, and life, looked something like this:
Now I have this:
Everything important that needs to be done resides here. Mostly it just sits, until the need for it reaches crisis level, at which point I sift wildly through it trying not to spill the whole she-bang on the floor ('cuz there are 2 more piles down there and it would never to do have the "A pile" mixing with the "B pile"; neither of which should consort with the "to file" pile).
I have a variety of thoughts about how I have morphed from Sara, born organized to Sara, chaos monger. Most of them have to do with two darling children. Related thoughts center around not creating any time in my life to do anything about anything. Then I go back to thoughts about small children. Sometimes I have fantasies of having a desk again and chunks of time every week to sort through piles, make to-do list and actually DO things from them. Other times I have fantasies of having more children and I pretend these don't conflict.
In the meantime, my longing to return to my former self has turned up several lovely resources.
One of my favorite how and why to organize my time and stuff books is Getting Things Done by David Allen. When I was putting aside time, his systems showed me how to make the right work happen quickly and effectively. I still use several of his ideas daily, though I'm sure he'd never recognize them.
FlyLady is an on-line coach I "met" almost 8 years ago. Her goal is for anyone who is interested to have a peaceful, orderly, loving life. Her motto is baby steps and she assures me I can do anything for 15 minutes. Much to my horror, it turns out I can do most things I've been putting of and dreading in less that 15 minutes. So I adore her kind support in keeping my house tidy-ish and my life something like peaceful. Oh, and her calender rocks my world.
The Dinner Diva is one of FlyLady's cohorts. She provides weekly dinner menus complete with shopping list. We've spent most of the past 4 years eating dinner with her. I recommend her low carb menu mailer.
My new crush is AmazonFresh. I click on the yummy food, they bring it to my door in the wee hours while I sleep. Much to my amazement, their prices are low.