I run in a bunch of different circles when it comes to my business, my family and my life. I'm an illustrator, an affiliate marketer, a designer, a coder, a crafter, a blogger, a webmaster, a business woman, a writer and sometimes a teacher. Not to mention the standard roles of life cycles like a mom, a wife, a sister, etc. So many directions really… how can I possibly stay organized and stay on task? I don't, I compartmentalize and then I organize my compartments mentally. Really that comes down to just becoming mental… all the time.
I find myself surrounded with projects both on the computer and on my desk and when I stop working to look up long enough to note the chaos around me, I get grumpy that I created such an unorganized mess. I get irritated that there is no one reminding me to pick up after myself let alone anyone reminding themselves to take care of any of their own things. Really how am I accomplishing anything? Sometimes the crazy environment is too much which then inspires me to start another project instead of focus on the one I was excited about last week.
Through it all I do finish things… all the time. Yet, there's got to be a better way.
I've heard all kinds of great ideas and even tried many of them. I can rationalize my way out of any stressful situation, so sticking with something that isn't a happy project is not something I do well. Instead I prefer to work on happy and let the rest grow mold by itself. I'll eventually come back to it… if I remember it was something I wanted to do. Which reminds me… I had a brilliant idea to start building an image database for all my art this week. I sat down to think about how I wanted it to work, how I wanted it to flow and what I would need to do to make it function for others to navigate easily.
I opened up my server account to set up a new database for the project only to realize not only did I already have a database ready to go, I'd already written 3/2 of the program I was dreaming up. It's like having your own personal fairy god mother, inside your head! Saved myself all kinds of headaches… having done the work already.
So then the reality sets in. How the heck do I keep myself organized enough to remember not only what I have to do and what I want to do… but what I've already done and what I need to remember I have?
A spreadsheet won't help me remember I need to eat lunch. A reminder service or calendar notes would become ridiculous if I enter every thought, idea and brainstorm I have. I can't get a notice to tell me I left the milk out because the phone rang so I went outside as I phone wandered throughout the conversation only to come back to the computer to start a project I left last week.
I've gone back after months of writing a program and not remembered writing it.. looking at the code like it's a foriegn language. I've created a piece of art and completely forgotten about it… created something similar and when I'm about to save it realize I made the first only because I named them the same and the computer won't allow the duplicate name.
Is my mind failing me? Some say it's kids. “you have a full house, you have young kids”. Yet I've seen plenty of other folks with kids appear to be sane and mentally with it. They appear to handle all of their directions just fine. So then again… how does one organize it all and then make it work?
It's frustrating to me because it seems I am gaining information by leaps and bounds on a continual basis, however it's more like getting hit with a big juice piece of chocolate cake.. only to have it slide down my head and land on the floor. How am I supposed to enjoy that fabulous-ness?
I have half an answer for myself. Instead of taking the time to organize, plan and keep up with myself, I just run with it. I get an idea, I can “see” how to accomplish it, and I literally take off. I don't stop to worry about the details of other things that aren't related and I don't make the time I should to organize in other corners. I work moment to moment whacking at my dream to-do list and what ends up happening is I finish a great project but turn around to see the path I've left behind… it's a mess. Like laundry on the floor that the dog decided to dig through.
So my goal is to make time to organize, put that on my to-do list and make it a priority. Make it a checkmark worthy task to organize various facets of my life and then be consistant about keeping up with it all.
What helps you stay organized with yourself, your family and your work?