Posted in Musings

Plans, Plans, Plans

How do you like to organize what you have to do? Do you keep a list or multiple lists? In an organizer, on a piece of paper, on your phone?

I like to keep lists. I have a system that has served me well at work. I have a spiral-bound weekly organizer. In the morning I write down what I need to do on the left side of the page and throughout the day or at the end of the day I write down what I’ve accomplished. If there is anything I didn’t get to or something new that I know I will have to do, I write it on the left side for the next day.

This was something I started doing a few years ago because it helped me keep track of what I accomplished when I had to write quarterly reports of my achievements for my boss. It also made me feel better to see what I had accomplished each day when I felt like I had been running around and not getting anything done.

I never thought to do this in my personal life, but recently on the Happier Podcast, they discussed Ta-Da Lists, which is what I was doing all along but didn’t have a snappy title for. One of the benefits is if you’re not accomplishing what you want to be doing- like in my case writing more- I can see what I was actually doing and in some cases, I’m doing things that are pretty important. For example, in the past week, I have been getting reorganized after evacuating for hurricane Irma.

So I started doing personal Ta-Da lists a few days ago and so far it has been motivating to me to write (almost) daily so I can add it to my list before I got to bed that I accomplished writing.

Below you will see an example a senior director at work gave when I asked how he organizes what he has to do. I was curious how someone at a senior level organized himself. He didn’t give me a method as much as a decision-making tool which also important to consider. Is what I’m doing the most important thing from the list? Can someone else do it for me? Is it important that it is done today? If not, it can be deferred so something more pressing is taken care of sooner.

I would love to know your methods so please share.

The 4 D’s for Daily Planning


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Posted in Meditation

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying: The Japanese art of Decluttering and Organizing by Mari Kondo

I bought this book at the recommendation of friends. It wasn’t just recommended, it was recommended vigorously by both parties.

What it boils down to is going through all of your belongings and considering each item and deciding if it brings you joy or not. If it doesn’t bring you joy, you should not keep it despite lofty notions such as sentimental value, expecting to use it someday, or it being practical to keep it. For example, even if it’s a shirt you wore last week, you should not keep it if wearing it did not make you happy.

I like to donate items to a thrift store that benefits military veterans throughout the year. But generally once a year I do a more serious purging. This year I took it to a new level after reading this book. I chose to get rid of things I would have held on to such as books, and DVDs I loved. As I considered each book I realized even if I were to read them again, I would prefer a digital version and would not likely read the physical book. And as for the DVDs, I already had many of them recorded on my DVR anyway. I also got rid of most of the clothes I hope to fit into again someday. When I stopped to really consider if they brought me joy, I realized they were from a few years ago and I wouldn’t want to wear most of them again. I did save a few that would genuinely make me happy, being able to wear them again would be like crossing a 5K finish line, maybe even a half marathon.

There are some classes of objects that I have had fetishes with buying but have stopped myself from buying recently. Containers, school supplies (folders, post-its, and notebooks), purses, and candles fall into this category (though I confess I have had a candle relapse lately). Containers just cause me to collect things and I barely write things down now, preferring to capture info in the Evernote app, so out all these things went.

Sometimes we collect things because we feel like we will use it again, or we feel loved having these belongings. The author suggests to be thankful for having these items or whoever gave it to us and then let it go. We can also take pictures of precious items to remember them. Getting rid of things we don’t use allows us to appreciate what we do have more.

I did keep back some stuff that was questionable because I thought perhaps if I got rid of a lot of these other things, I would have the psychic energy to enjoy the questionable items. So I decided if I didn’t use them in a few months they would be eliminated. What the magic of tidying is really a meditative processes allowing us to be aware of our possessions and its value in our lives.