I am a recovering messy person. Some days more recovered than others. Organization and tidiness do not come naturally to me. As I have gotten older I have found ways to compensate for my inherent love of entropy. I see the value in method and planning, just not always the way to get there.
Last year this time I found a great book–Time Management for Unmanageable People. One of the big takeaways for me was the idea that visual people (those of us who like piles rather than files) need visual systems for keeping track of things. I took this on board and created a corner of my office/studio where I could keep track of thing.
It has a bulletin board, shelves, slots for magazines and catalogs and a whiteboard calendar. I use post-its for the white board so I can easily rearrange as the spirit moves me.
As this little business of mine has grown–thanks to you–I find I need more organization. I can’t just sit down at my desk and say,”What do I feel like doing?” I need to keep track of what needs doing and when. Yikes! Scary for me.
Enter another book, Getting Things Done. This is a well-know book in business circles. My daughter reports that whole sections of her office have been required to read it. I found it through this post, The Complete Flake’s Guide to Getting Things Done, which is a smart and funny analysis of people like me. I like the key idea in GTD (that’s the way the cool kids refer to the book)–get everything you have to do out of your head and into a system. Then you can relax because, if you follow the system, you will be on top of what you need to do when you need to do it. See paragraph four above.
So, I have read the book and put the system (or rather, a version of the system) in place. See desk below–
(Sorry about the glare–the window behind the desk makes great photo impossible) Without a before shot you may not be amazed. Use your imagination to fill in the blank desk–yarn, papers, needles, reference books….
Now I have an inbox that gets emptied every day and a standing file holder with 3 folders in it–Action, Review and Waiting for. My email has the same set up. I have a to-do list for Harper & Figg and one for personal stuff. I know where the lists are and I have crossed some things off both of them.
Some of you may react the way my mother did–“That sounds very complicated. I just sit down and do things.” To her and to you I say, “Bless you. You are clearly not an unmanageable, complete flake.” But for those of us who are, there is hope.
What do you do to stay on top of your life?