Figuring Out the Best Way to Organize My Schedule

Sometimes things in our lives can seem difficult and we can't get a handle on what the problem is.  Sometimes we don't even know there IS a problem... we just chalk the thing up to "something we don't like to do".

I have a couple of examples.  I used to say I didn't like talking on the phone.  It's true.  I didn't.  I would dread when the phone would ring and I'd see that it's someone I know and then I'd know that if I answered (which I generally do), I was in for a phone conversation.  But why did that bother me?  I assumed it was because I'm antisocial and just don't like talking to people and after years of saying I don't like to talk on the phone, I began to believe my internal reasoning for that.  Turns out, it had nothing to do with being anti-social.  My brain knew I didn't like talking on the phone, but since I couldn't articulate to myself WHY, I had just made up a reason. 

The real reason turns out that my hearing isn't what it used to be.  There are three sounds in the English language that I pretty much can't hear.  But most of the time when I'm talking to people I can see their mouth moving and I can usually put two and two together and figure out what they're saying by hearing the rest of the sounds in conjunction with watching the way their mouth makes the sounds.

Same thing with my fear of heights.  I used to just think I had a fear of heights.  I absolutely loathed having to get on the roof to clean the gutters or fix the swamp cooler.  I kind of felt like I was just being a big baby and I'm sure my mom thought I was just being difficult because she mentions to me constantly that she always went up on the roof.  I don't even like climbing ladders that are only 6 feet in height.  Well, it turns out I get dizzy spells in certain height situations.  It happens so rarely but is frightening enough for my subconscious to say I shouldn't be having ANYTHING to do with situations that involve heights.  

Now for the real reason I started this blog post... One of my favorite subjects... organizing!

After watching Hellen Buttigieg’s show a few times (Hellen is a personal organizer with a TV show called “Neat”), I began to understand that not everyone can organize the same way. For years I never understood how I could get these great organizing systems (filing cabinets, storage boxes, shelved closets, etc) and still end up with piles and heaps of things everywhere. Then one day Hellen was analyzing one of her customers and assessed her as a “piler”. One who needs everything in plain site and within easy reach… and the normal way that comes in to being is by making piles. Piles of papers to be filed, to be sorted, to be dealt with. Piles of books to read, piles of supplies to put away, piles of pieces to be polished, etc. 

Hellen's solution for "pilers"?  Keep everything organized but keep it out in the open and within easy reach.  This could also explain why I prefer open-concept living over compartmentalized anything. I want everything around me, visible and available. 

I will show you a blog post later on with some of the solutions I've come up with.  I only mentioned the above story to again illustrate that sometimes we do unproductive things (like being disorganized or having clutter) without wanting to but without understanding why.  And without knowing why, it's hard to find a system that works.

So here is my final example because it's what I'm working on today.

I love lists.  They keep my brain organized AND you get to cross things off when you accomplish them giving you a sense that you're making progress.  So I used to make lists of things I had to do in a week because I felt like my energies were scattered and I was absolutely not getting the important stuff done OR getting enough done.  So I've have my little calendar list (which greatly appealed to my OCD tendencies) but stuff would interrupt my life and the whole list would be thrown out of whack.

The other day I realized that what I need is a mutable system.  So I took my large white board and drew a generic weekly calendar on it.

Then I got these magnetic white board labels and wrote down all the things I felt were important for me to do in a week (some with times attached... like "studio 4 hrs").

This way, if I get interrupted (taking Mom out shopping, friend drops by, etc) I can take the magnet/task that I was unable to accomplish and move it into another spot in the week.  Previously if something got interrupted it was just forsaken, but now I can think of my time as one week at a time in which x-number of tasks need to get done but if they end up moving around a bit it's okay.

BTW, there are lots of little things on here that you can't see.  Just as I have an "afternoon routine" showing here, I have a "morning routine" and an "evening routine".  I didn't put them on because they happen before 6am and after 6pm (the parameters of this board I made).

Some examples of things that take place in my "routine" slots include deleting photos from my phone daily, reading/responding to/and deleting emails daily, meditate, etc.

Do you have a similar system?  Have any tips for staying organized?  I'd love to hear in the comment section.



Laura this was a very useful

Laura this was a very useful post for me. I like to get me one of those boards but the first thing I think of is: What about weekly boards? - which is ridiculous! I use a paper day timer and two ecalanders! but those do not include the 'mundane' like cat litter. Instead I make endless paper sticky notes to myself. This is my daily organizing routine: I look at my paper calendar (the MOST important) and then start to think of the million trillion things I need to fit in that day (eg. cat litter) around that event (eg. dentist). Then I proceed to reorganize my stickies, carrying over the undone tasks and creating a sea of new stickies. And this is how I manage my days.

I have long thought there must be a better way to do this but as my days become more complex, my stickies feel most forgiving and portable.

Hey Becky, we're pretty

Hey Becky, we're pretty similar then. You move your sticky notes around, I move my magnets around.

I'm getting a good feel for what I can (and can't) accomplish in a day... and I'm getting WAY more jewelry made ans I'm making studio time my priority. Now, if something has to go (get moved to another day), I try to pick "cleaning". Ha ha ha! Easy to see why I don't get more visitors.

I know it seems ridiculous to some that I put things like "cat litter" and "meal planning" on a schedule, but these are things I want to do at regular intervals rather than, "Oh heck, I totally forgot!". Know what I mean?

And they say that if you do something for long enough it gets to be habit so this system is to get me into "a flow" so that staying on task CAN become habit.

Most of all I'm super excited that I'm back to making jewelry rather than letting so many interruptions keep me from that.


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