I am not a very organized person, never have been. I’m not great at planning, either. Just call it my kryptonite. This semester, I had my students read “Be Proactive, Not Reactive” by Stephen McCranie (http://doodlealley.com/2011/11/30/be-proactive-not-reactive/) and asked them some questions about their own planning habits. A few of them said something that basically boils down to, “Planning is easy, following the plan is the difficult part” and ain’t that the truth?
The character in McCranie’s comic (himself) uses a calendar to change his habit of procrastination into that of productivity. Who here owns a calendar? Yeah, me too.
I will, from time to time, buy or download some kind of organizational tool in hopes that it will transform me from who I am into who I want to be. I downloaded Wunderlist back in February, when I was feeling really good, and haven’t really looked at it in months because I forgot about it, then didn’t want to look at because it reminded about what I have left undone. I thought OneNote would change my life—it hasn’t. I’ve made up both simple and elaborate schedules many, many times, and didn’t follow them for long, if at all. I bought a planner in January or February, which I used some, but there are big blanks that tell me when I was sick, and then when I gave up all together. This summer, I bought one of those enormous paper desk calendars, hoping that if I left the monstrous thing on the kitchen table, I wouldn’t be able to forget it about it. Turns out, I am the most Talented Forgetter in the Land. It’s now in my room on my desk, still flipped to June.
I used a planner for years in grade school and presumably at least some of undergrad, so I’m a little peeved I haven’t been able to keep the habit (then again, no one is standing around going “write this in your planner NOW” anymore, either).
I put a lot of faith in the tools of organization, but turns out, that does not count for much. I guess my goal, when I try these different tools and tactic, is this vague idea of “getting organized.” That is probably my problem. It’s not as though I want to get organized just for the heck of it—I get no significant pleasure or satisfaction from a made bed or sticky notes (I know other people do and they need our love and understanding). I do like that order could give me efficiency. Not that I am big on efficiency—I prefer to stroll, or perhaps mosey, through life—but not wasting time doing things I don’t like to do (hunting for clothes, files, and papers, for instance) is pretty appealing.
I also like the idea of being prepared, relaxed, professional—“together” if you will. Life can and will stressful and inconvenient enough at times without my creating additional stresses and inconveniences for myself. That’s not helpful at all.
Plus, I like to think that better organization will lead me to better control my circumstances, rather than them controlling me. Why would I want random, insentient factors, plus other people, to decide my fate, with me just along for the ride, surviving as best I can? No, sounds dumb.
Also, I think being organized would give me more time, because I would be using it properly, without half my mind occupied with what I should have done, but haven’t. Then, I wouldn’t waste time avoiding and worrying about stressful or unpleasant tasks.
I guess it’s a matter of deciding what you really want out of life. Which is tough—I’m pretty apathetic when it comes to the hopes and dreams, anymore. There’s nothing I really want—plenty I don’t want. Avoiding poverty, shame, and death is not exactly a positive motivation. It doesn’t give you a direction to go, just directions not to go. Actually, a lot of my life is about avoiding. That’s a fun revelation for later dissection.
There are some things I would like to do, though. One is to get a full-time job I won’t end up hating that also pays a living wage. Another is to finish writing a single work—the comic is probably most on track for that, and I have a partner in crime, so I think that will be the primary writing goal. I also want to get some definitive answers on my health so that I can commit to a clear plan of action. And really, that’s it. I figure if I can orient my organization around accomplishing those three things, that might help.