Organization, procrastination, and the perpetual importance of preparedness

It’s a little bit funny just how much I’ve missed my day planner this week. I never think of myself as an organized person–I’m constantly forgetting my keys, my phone, my assignments, to the point that it’s become a running joke with my residents that I can’t leave the suite without running back at least once. But that’s probably why I rely on my day planner so much. I tend to do organization in spurts. I will wait until my room gets really messy and then clean it all in one big sweep. I find that once I get going, it’s hard for me to stop. It’s the same with scheduling. I write down everything at the beginning of the semester, or the week, and then don’t touch it again. I wish I could be one of those people who were ALWAYS meticulously organized–but alas. My talent lies in my extremes, I guess.

There are several things I use to organize myself. This year especially, with all of our exercises and clients, I’ve really relied, like I said, on my dayplanner. I have this pretty patent Coach agenda that I bought at an outlet in Pennsylvania for the low, low price of I couldn’t remember if you paid me. I use it not just for scheduling, but it also has all my numbers and addresses, birthdays, and other information I can’t forget. I also use it for collecting business cards, which I did a lot this week.

I love the gold lined pages - they make me feel fancy and grown up - but I hate that it's impossible to get refills for the notepad at the back.

Because I’m extra paranoid (see above: forgetful) I also put everything into my iCal, which automatically syncs with my iPhone and iPad. My agenda is pretty heavy, so I don’t usually carry it around with me. But having everything phone means I usually have a pretty good idea of my schedule. My phone also reminds me of most appointments the day of, which is both helpful and annoying.

I use to-do lists sporadically. I tend to update the one on my phone in bed–that way I can tell my brain to shut up and stop worrying before I got to sleep. I also make them on paper, so that when I cross stuff off I can have that visual confirmation that I am, in fact, being productive. I like lists a lot, but I also find they can sometimes get in the way of productivity. Lists are very linear and my brain and life are not. So, for example, if I put “clean car”, “finish MSEL”, and “do bulletin board” next to each other, I will tend to prioritize based on which is most important (MSEL). But sometimes, my best tool can be my power of procrastination. If I always focused on the most important item, I would literally never get anything done. Sometimes I need to clean my car first, which will make me feel so good I’ll be able to sit down and concentrate on my MSEL. Or maybe while I do my bulletin board, I’ll come up with a good idea for an input. So, in conclusion, while lists are great, sometimes it’s better for me to keep my unofficial to do list in my head.

Today I managed to get LOADS of stuff done–unfortunately, none of it was the one thing I should be doing, which is finishing my essay on how liability can impact the recovery process. I’ve been so much better at being organized and proactive this year, however, which is great. Then again, sometimes I look like this:

This is not too different from how I've been this weekend

One method I really miss is Microsoft OneNote. I switched over to Mac about 4 years ago and haven’t looked back, but boy oh boy do I miss OneNote. For all you PC users out there who have seen OneNote on your computers but have never used it, USE IT. It’s truly the best note taking software out there, and I miss it all the time. I’ve been using Evernote, and it’s okay, but it’s not the same. The day they come out with OneNote for Mac, I will be first in line to buy it. My favourite feature was how when you copied and pasted something, it automatically pasted the link right under it. I also liked writing anywhere on the page (see above: non-linear brain).

Of course, all of this is really just to say that like anything in EM or ResLife, it’s all about preparedness. Since I’m so very aware of my tendency to forget things, I try extra hard to compensate for that.