Age of Awareness
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Age of Awareness

I was a Hostage to My Organizer: Five Ways to Break Free of the Obsessive Habit

I wrote in January about my great organizing plans, taking what I did last year and refining it. You can read about my Brain Dump here.

I thought I had figured it out — I had a way that would work — no more loose lists floating around — no more trying to remember every thing that needed to be done...I was ecstatic.

I loved how everything in my old-fashioned composition book was working out…until the middle of February…when I analyzed the brutal truth…

I was hostage to my notebook organizer.

My first week in January…

I crossed off SO MANY THINGS, none of them really earth-shaking, but it sure felt good. Most weeks I didn’t carry anything over to the new week…I had even worked out how I was going to keep track of that aspect of left-overs. I was exactly up to date on my self-care pieces…walking each day, steps for the month, yoga practice,meditation each day, lots of the gazillion loose ends that seemed to arrive each day.



This wasn’t working, and by mid February I was not happy with the system. I continued to work with it, with the idea of prioritizing art and writing each day.. Somewhat better, but I was still obsessing on the page of To Do’s.

Something had to change.

I only accomplished two larger art pieces in January, and we had a major art show to hang the beginning of April. I had to pick up the pace.
Also, I didn’t write for Medium as much as I wanted…loads of ideas, taking an online class with Tom Kuegler (which is fantastic, by the way), but I wasn’t working at it, which I promised myself I would do. I made $.04 on Medium in January and nothing in February…I had to change my system.

First thing, I figured I didn’t need to track self-care as much as I was. Only down side is I haven’t walked as much these last six weeks, but I have been productive with writing…and the remake of four older fiber art pieces to hang in the large show…they are gorgeous!

Second, I wrote in my journal my commitment to art and writing from now on. Benjamin Hardy talks about a 30-day commitment, so I went for it…two hours a day sewing and two hours writing, not counting thought time during morning and evening journal sessions…boy, has that journaling become productive.

Upshot of all this?

I am doing some form of artwork every day, even if it’s only a few minutes. It is a priority, especially with the new art avenues for us.

  • I make a list in my journal of what’s critical for the day in the morning. Then at night I look at what I’ve accomplished. Anything I can’t cross off isn’t as important as I thought…and I don’t worry about it…which takes practice….
  • I make my deadlines as needed. I don’t need to carry through on every page what still needs to be done.
  • OUTSOURCE! I have a plan to outsource the housecleaning. I can’t fit it in, I don’t want to do it, and hubby isn’t well enough.
  • I don’t check my list every time I need to do something. All that did was make me paranoid about wasting time and then feeling guilty because I didn’t cross anything off for the day. You can see how my months and weeks got simpler -
  • THIS system is working for me. I had to experiment until I found what works for me, so don’t give up if your first organizing attempt/s don’t work. One surprise is how important my journal has become to me. When I first started and it looked like it was going to be something I would stay with, I wrote about it here. Many starts and stops, but THIS is working for me. I can reflect, and I have a much better sense of what is truly right for me.

Thank you Benjamin Hardy (Willpower Doesn’t Work) and Vishen Lakhiani (The Code of the Extraordinary Mind) for pointing out the differences between means and end goals. I get it now…I’m focusing on the ends, and I am much happier.



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Linda Moran

Renaissance woman, teacher, fiber artist, lover of history and mathematics, and world citizen; defender of the truth. #twocrones