Tuesday, February 16, 2010
If Chaos is your Nature...
I've frequently accused of being 'the most organized person I know' by friends. I admit to being a bit OCD in many aspects of my life and organization of some varieties would fall into this category. As those of you who have been reading me for any length of time know, I'm an extremist. I tend to throw myself whole-heartily into that which I get excited about.
I've been pouring over some organizing blogs, ideas, tips, and lists this week thinking of ways to be more efficient in my personal life. I do a decent job of staying organized with work-related items but sometimes I fall behind at home. I would be willing to bet that a few of you have the same problem, made worse by coming home after an 8+ hour work day and wanting to do nothing but eat dinner and watch TV.
I'm going to identify my weak areas. Here we go...
Sidetracked by the Macbook.
Fly Lady has listed as one of her 11 Commandments, 'don't allow yourself to be sidetracked by your computer'. Bam - guilty. Pulling out my macbook (which thankfully I only do once or twice a week at home) can be like entering a time warp for me. When I emerge from Internet-land back into the real world and an hour has gone by I can't believe I've let myself get so sidetracked. Anyone feeling me on this one?
I might have to start setting a timer for myself like my parents use to do with us when we first got AOL in our house. Oh AOL, the old school days of dial up Internet and lame 10-year-old screen names. If only that were all that distracted me on my computer these days. Say no to face-stalking, extreme budget overhaul, and Internet window shopping Becca. Say no.
The Great Mail Pile-up.
For someone who seems endlessly organized I have NEVER been good at dealing with mail. In college my Mom use to remind me to check mine or I'd go weeks without dealing with my overflowing box (which by the way, supposedly promotes break-ins). Even after I'd finally trudge down to the mail area and gather my 39489302 pieces of mail, it'd take me another week or two before I'd go through it, usually throwing most of it away unopened.
Where did I acquire this attitude about mail? I love getting cards but I hate dealing with documents sent from companies such as: insurance related, bank related,HOA related, etc. And before you suggest I go 'paperless', that would be equally disastrous as I'm also horrible about printing and filing those documents.
No excuses, I'm to start tackling the mail as it comes. I cannot keep being fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants about paying bills and such. I've never been late on a bill BUT I've been a 'day of' girl most my life. No more. I will find a way to deal with mail. I will report back to you all with my solution.
Fly Lady's thoughts are this:
Mail - often a big pile up problem! This works - the "DO IT NOW PRINCIPLE" (from the FlyLady's Dear Husband):
- Go through the mail as soon as you bring it in the house.
- Only open it with your calendar, cards, and garbage can at your side. (This cuts down on handling it twice.)
- Have one place for bills. And put them there!
- Have a day for paying them and stick to it. FlyLady's date with her bills: on the 1st and 15th of each month.
- Reconcile your bank statement the day you get it.
- Put sale papers, advertisements, and catalogs by your chair, so you can look at them when you deserve a break. Do not let them pile up! Look at them the next time you sit down and have your scissors, grocery list, and garbage can handy.
I have a tendency to do really well at keeping my car nice for a few weeks or months and then something will happen (like moving) and it will be a disaster for a while before I want to face it again. This is avoidable. I just can't let my car become a war zone or the black abyss that my papers and trash fall into. But this is certainly an area of organizational weakness.
I recently cleaned my car inside and outside. I took it to the car wash, stopped and got it vacuumed out, I even scrubbed my floor mats with spot shot. To all my friends who ride in my car with their grimy feet on my floor mats: I.blame.you! I also FINALLY went through my glove box and disposed of the rotting renewals of my insurance cards and registrations from the last oh, 2 years. Now I know that my 'packet' is up-to-date and I will have no problems should I need to reference that info (Lord willing, I hope I do not).
I hate e-mail. I'm not sure why but for some reason I am just not a fan of getting e-mails. Some of you may remember from my former blog post about the buying of my blackberry that not long after my e-mail started stalking me via my phone, I unsubscribed from practically EVERYTHING I was getting via e-mail. But alas, somethings are just best handled through e-mail and so therefore I must learn to stay atop of them.
I have made myself categories for e-mails that need to be saved ie: receipts from my Kindle purchases, condo documents, personal e-mails to reference on crappy days, etc. However, I need to start sorting e-mails every day instead of once every couple weeks. This would really cut down on the annoyance I experience when I have to do this process. Gr.
So as not to 'Debbie Downer' myself too terribly much today...let's also talk about areas I do well at and how I got to those points. In the last year or so I have become increasingly well organized in the area of greeting cards. I bought a Vera Bradley card organizer a while back which helps me ensure that I send holiday cards, birthday cards, thank you cards, and 'just because' cards every single month. I think this is a great habit that few people have developed. I love the cards I get in response or knowing that I've put a smile on someone's face. I remember to pull out and write cards because I highlight (in orange which equals important) on my calender a day a week out from a birthday 'send Rach a card'.
For me, the key to success with most everything has been to have a plan...and an accurate planner. I color coordinate my 3 year old Coach planner that my best friend graciously refills for me with her discount every year. That has become my compass as I navigate my somewhat intense life of balance church, work, bills, condo stuff, personal life, football related things, and event-world details for work. Without my planner, I tend to get lost. I believe I've posted a picture of my infamous color coded planner on my blog before. My friends tease me mercilessly...except the 2 of them that have adopted my habit. They love me for it. I color coordinate in the following 5 catagories:
Pink - personal or as I call them 'treats'. This includes lunch dates, facials, girls nights out, and this month: the super bowl!
Orange - Important. These are the mustnotforgets! When bills are due, cards, birthdays, prescriptions, etc.
Yellow - work. This is self explanatory. Meetings, due dates, reminders, PTO days, paid holidays, etc.
Green - church related. Meetings, appointments, services, small group homework, finance class meetings, and soon-to-be calling my group every week to see how their budgeting is going.
Blue - Blog related. When I've scheduled posts, when I have promised to mail a freebie, etc. This is the least used color...but it still has one.
Well, there you have it. I'm good at a few other organization things but these will do for now.
Time to get to work...