Monday, 28 January 2013

Organised chaos or chaotic organisation

My life is organised, but not as you know it.

Like most Australians I have been trained since childhood to use a calendar. My husband actually makes our family calendar on his computer and simply updates it each year. It has all the birthdays and wedding anniversaries marked clearly. Family photos are on each page. This should make life really simple. This works.

I use an organiser diary, left over from the eighties. This is where I write my own important things. Doctor and dentist appointments. Business cards from the tradesmen we call. All the addresses are in one section so postcards are sent when we go on holidays. Any tutoring appointments are entered. My organiser lives on the bedside cabinet. This should make life really simple, but time and place upset the balance.

Recently I tried going back to making menus for the family. That worked for three days. What happened? Well, someone invited us to go out for a meal. Then something else came up. The supermarket had some good specials. Menu? It should have made life really simple, but it didn't.

I make lists. So many lists. Shopping lists. Lists of today's tasks. Lists of exercises. Lists of projects waiting in the wings. Cross out that and make a new list. This should make life really simple. If the lists are long though I feel defeated before I start.

Boxes and bags are filled with sewing supplies and knitting projects. Boxes of laces and ribbon. Boxes of Christmas decorations. In the bedroom are my bags of stockings, of handkerchiefs and of scarves. I suspect this habit was begun at school when we carefully hand stitched those handkerchief sachets. This should make life really simple, and it does usually, in a limited way.

Sticky notes? Yes, indeed. I actually have a box full of pretty colours and shapes so there is always one for every special note. I use them in recipe books to mark which recipe I intend to use. I use them instead of file tabs in folders. Labels for music. Yes, I am a sucker for sticky notes. This should make life really simple. This works.

My computer has folders for everything. Photos are in folders. Knitting patterns are in folders. Even the stationery for writing Christmas letters is in a folder. This should make life really simple. This works most of the time.

I wonder how many systems one person needs to use. Obviously canisters will not work for handkerchiefs and toolboxes will not work for recipes.
How do homeless people organise their lives? They must need to have much more information to hand but still have no material goods.
Why is my system of organisation both effective and ineffective? Is this part of being human instead of being a robot? A few calming breaths and some window cleaning might be the answer too.

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