People are always asking me, "SK, how do you manage to do it all?"
As if I have time to answer questions like that! But what choice do I have? (Which coincidentally, is also the answer.)
Even so, you've got to have a system.
If you are a man, or a teenager, this can be as simple as manipulating the biological impulses of your closest female relatives, whose genetic makeup predisposes them to do it all for you.
But for me, this means Post-It notes. By which I mean any rectangularly-shaped scrap of paper that can be adhered to every surface in my range of vision.
The best thing about this system is the way in which reminders can be used to trigger other reminders in an Inception-like layer of redundancy; a yellow Post-It above my desk reminds me to find some notes that would not even be missing right now if I had remembered to tape them to my desk. If that is not proof of the beauty of this system I don't know what it is!
I'm not saying it's perfect. As with any system, there are occasional breakdowns.
The small purple reminder I left to remind myself "March 17" is, I'll admit, something of a mystery, but at least I know when it is due. In my line of work that is really the important thing.
The point is, I have made myself a note to take it down by next week, when whatever it was won't matter anyway. Which works out perfectly because next week is going to be five different colors of impossible.
from the Mother of Invention archives: Patent pending, Einstein's Mommy
My system is not better. It just looks slightly less frantic. Emphasis on slightly. I put things in piles, such as "Pay now" and "deal with later" and "chapter I'm working on." "Deal with later" is the kicker; it just grows and grows and grows until it threatens to jump off the counter and come crawling up the stairs and smother me in my sleep. At that point, I put it into a brown bag from Trader Joe's, and voila! the kitchen is clean. Check that off the To Do list. Then I stash the brown bag in a corner of my office. Twice a year or so, I go through all the crap in that corner, and think, "why the hell did I save this?" and I throw it all away. It's demented, I realize. But it works for me.
Posted by: MommyTime | March 25, 2011 at 05:51 PM
this post reminded me that i scribbled something on an envelope in the car today that I sense was something i needed to do -- yet i am too lazy to get off the couch to find out. There, that's my system or lack thereof.
Posted by: Stephanie | March 25, 2011 at 08:19 PM
I use the Sarah Palin write it in the palm of my hand. If it makes it past the shower the next day, it was something I was able to get to. If not, it probably never needed to be attended to, assuming, there will be another note there about something else.
Posted by: Audubon Ron | March 25, 2011 at 08:28 PM
Sigh. Bill Gates spent most of his pre-patron-of-the-arts-and-sciences life inventing the anti-post it method called using the COMPUTER UNDER your post it notes, which has a calendar, reminders, tasks, to do's and even an electronic stickie system for those (you) who find it hard to write a note on anything else! Don't make me come up there!
Posted by: nthnglsts | March 26, 2011 at 06:17 AM
I have 2 words : iPad notes. Forget all the fancy apps etc.. The real reason to get an iPad is to put an end to post it notes. Just remember to have 1 post it on your desk at eye level to remind you to check your ele tropically organized life. A word of warning, don't let the household kids know you have the iPad. They will think it is actually for apps. Etc.
Posted by: Momfriend | March 26, 2011 at 08:15 AM
No one should have let you know that you can do post its on your computer. Even with boring old PCs, you can use screen post its. Soon, you won't be able to see the screen any more. It's nice to know that you continue your tradition of chaos to accomplish all in your life.
Posted by: Paulita | March 26, 2011 at 08:26 AM
Scoff all you like but you are going to want to kill yourself when my Post-It notes have their own book deal. I am going to want to kill myself too, but I will be too busy spending the royalty checks in some far-flung tropical locale The New York Times does not reach.
The critics will be savage.
Posted by: Suburban Kamikaze | March 26, 2011 at 09:20 AM