Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Tackle it Tuesday- The Calendar

Tackle It Tuesday Meme

My task today is to work on creating a calendar and schedule for myself. For the past couple of years I've been surviving with the mental calendar. Generally it works for me. I manage to make it to appointments on time and I tend to remember most events but there is this constant vague feeling of things passing me by and usually they do- the festival I wanted to attend, the free concert it would have been fun to take the kids to, etc.

My ex-husband lived by the Filofax and convinced me this was the way to go. He bought me this beautiful leather Filofax which I kept leaving in on the counter in stores. Then I went to the Palm Pilot. I figured out how to use it (no easy task) but I'd forget that the darn thing was in my bag or it needed batteries and it would sit on my shelf gathering dust. I tried computer programs but this failed also because I don't carry my computer with me all the time. I even tried this wonderful program called Back Pack which allows you to email your schedule and set up project lists and to-do lists. It's great if you don't happen to have a toddler who views your computer as a rival and won't let you near it.

I thought of getting one of those big giant dry-erase wall calendars but besides being expensive it wouldn't help me manage appointments, events, to-do lists and contacts unless it was the biggest wall calendar known to man. I don't want to run out and spend a lot of money on something that won't work so I dug deep and realized that the answer was very simple. Why not create a binder?

I love notebooks. I'm usually carrying around a couple of notebooks and I've never lost one. So I've decided to use what I already have- Windows calendar program, paper, ink and a printer. I will print out an overview calendar each month, then a weekly appointment schedule, and finally a daily sheet with my to-do list added on to this. What will make this system work for me, is that I can write on the printed sheets if some last minute comes up. Eventually, I'd like to include a weekly menu, and weekly and monthly budget in this book but that comes later.

This week will be about entering all the information I need- keeping note of school closings and events, competing soccer schedules, doctor's appointments, birthdays etc. Today I'll start on September and October and work my way to next September.

Monday, September 1, 2008

I've Returned from the Great Beyond

I'm back and I'm overwhelmed. There's nothing unusual about this. Everyone I meet these days is tired, overwhelmed, over-worked, stressed to the breaking point. I'm tired before I get out of the bed each morning as my mind runs down the list of everything that needs to be done. I feel like a crazy person standing on the shore trying to push back the tide. Well, I've decided I can't do this anymore- change has to happen now.

School starts for my kids on September 3rd and I've decided to put myself back to school (not literally but figuratively). I've always loved the thrill of the start of the school year so I decided to ride this wave of enthusiasm to change the way I'm living my life. This is no easy task since I've been running on that hamster wheel for a long long time. It won't be easy nor will it be pretty (just imagine a house during a gut renovation) but the final product is worth it.

I've decided to use the school year as my frame. Imagine if your child's teacher started off the first day of school teaching as though the kids magically spent the summer learning all the subjects for their grade. The bus ride home would be full of tears and there would be plenty of kids pleading never to go back again. This is how I generally handle changes that need to be made in my life. I jump in as though I had some magical rebirth overnight. I suddenly assume that starting on day (x) I am a well-organized machine. Then I crash and burn within two days back to running in place with no hope of getting anywhere.

My challenge for this school year is to take it slow. The first day (September 3rd) will be my beginning and it will be a gentle start, a warm-up of sorts. I'll begin the process assessing what will work to create movement. Over the course of the school year, I'll set up daily assignments and challenging projects and hopefully by the last day of school, I will graduate with honors.