Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Being better, part one

Everybody goes through spurts of self-improvement, right? Because I've figured out that I'm in the middle of one.

This summer, I committed to a couple of things that would improve my life.

1. Joined a gym (and really go and work out regularly)
2. Organize my non-primary-job-related paperwork, correspondence, and calendar

The paperwork and calendar organization encompasses several different roles in my life. Obviously, I'm a wife and mom and homeowner and partner in running our household, so there are plenty of papers and events that fall under those roles. Insurance documents, mortgage information, tax papers, medical documents. And they do pile up. But I set up a system to deal with these papers regularly, and the stack on the dining room table? Is gone.

I also serve on the board of my church and have a part-time, work-at-home job. Both of those roles are also accompanied by reams of paper and monthly (or more) meetings. And, just like those household papers, they can pile up. But once I found my three-hole punch and emptied a couple of binders, my paper problems were behind me.

But the calendar was more difficult. I'm a big believer in the Seven Habits method, and for years I had used a Franklin Covey classic (5 x 8.5") planner. I'd used the two-pages-per-day style and the two-pages-per-week style, but neither was really suiting my needs. After hearing a speaker in May touting the joys of the spiral-bound monthly planner, I gave that a try. And made it three months. I needed more space for writing, and that flimsy cover was not working for me. It was time to reconsider my options. My planner was too big and bulky to fit in my purse, and my on-foot commute doesn't make carrying multiple bags a good option.

A couple of years ago, I had purchased a compact size planner because I liked the meal-planning and grocery list pages that came with it. I never added calendar pages to it, and it quickly became a dust-catcher, then a part of my closet landscape. But my recent planner quandary prompted me to dig it out of the closet and put it in my purse, then buy new calendar pages for it. And now I'm rocking the small planner, two pages per day, and it's working for me. It fits in my purse so I'm never without it. It has plenty of room for me to write notes and reminders, and I get to use that powerful Covey tool, the weekly compass.

One spillover that I've noticed is that Susie is becoming more interested in organization. She has taken my planner more than once and studied the system. She really likes the project planning pages and thinks they could help her with school projects. (I don't think they'd be all that useful for that purpose, but I definitely think that internalizing an organization system before one's teen years can be nothing but useful.)

Another is that I don't forget things and meetings and events don't take me by surprise. I have a few standing commitments that always take place on the same day. By writing them in advance, and by using the calendar daily, I see them coming beforehand and can alert the family as to when I'll be out.

So the calendar is working great. What about the other changes? Stay tuned. This might take a while. Especially with the laptop still in the laptop hospital. Keep praying.

5 comments:

Hot Librarian said...

If your current calendar system ever fails you, I love and want to marry my palm pilot.

Noodle said...

I love organizational stuff. I am hopelessly addicted to my Axim and my Outlook calendar.

Mom said...

My laptop died in a meeting a couple of weeks ago. I'm letting it go...

Noodle said...

Feel like doing another meme? I just tagged you! :)

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