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what helps to organize your business?(and life,lol)

updated fri 5 jul 02


primalmommy on tue 2 jul 02

I have a few good books on getting organized, but I mostly can't find
them :0) How to have a 48 hour day... Not for packrats only...
confessions of an organized homemaker... simplify your life... everyday

Flylady is great too. She inspired me to make a resolution last new
years: 2 bags of stuff a week donated to goodwill or salvation army or a
shelter. The fact that I never run out tells me that I was not living
quite as simply as I had imagined. And somehow less stuff = more time.
Think how much freedom you have to think and breathe and be when it's
just a tent, a mess kit and a sleeping bag.

I know exactly how it feels when you're overwhelmed and feel like you'll
never get it all done. Here are a few things that work for me:

1.) I recently had some stress-related heart trouble and my doctor
instructed me to make a list of absolutely everything I do (my "job
description"). I laughed: I'm a stay at home mom, I don't even have a
"real" job, how long could the list be? I quit laughing somewhere around
page two. Make the list and then get a red pen and start crossing things
off. You'll know what can go, or wait til next year. Too many creative
irons in the fire? Pick one. Too many committees? Maybe this won't be
the year you save the world. Anything you can delegate? Hire a kid to
do? Put off another year? Prioritize. If a paying pottery job is
stressing you out, how badly do you need the money? Say no whenever you
can. Quit doing stuff for people who could do for themselves; they'll be
amazed to learn they can manage without you. You'll know which ones are
"keepers" but challenge yourself anyway. It was nice to ask myself "is
it worth it?" about homeschooling, social action, etc. and remind myself
that the answer was still yes. But you have to be frugal with your time.
Everybody wants it.

2.) Lower your standards. My garden is just as productive with a fringe
of weeds as it is without. By August it is like a jungle expedition
anyway; the bigger vines have encircled the tomato cages, scaled the
picket fence and are flinging melons and squash at passers by. My house
is happy, creative, noisy chaos, and I have developed a high tolerance
for mess and adjusted my level of "giveashit" about what folks who drop
in unannounced might think. Mostly they think I'm "arty" anyway. Must be
the angle at which someone's underwear is draped over the lampshade.

3.) Chase a list. I check in every morning with the calendar (library,
t-ball, etc.) and then write down what I need to get done that day. The
list used to be about a week long but I'm getting more realistic (see
#2). I'm learning to anticipate certain rhythms: I need a few days set
aside in june for strawberries, mulberries, cherries, currants, for
picking and making jam. Late summer I need a week to can tomatoes. Just
like I need money in the bank for those months when the big bills hit, I
need time "reserved" to do stuff like that.

4.) Cook ahead of time. It takes the same amount of time to make a big
pot of chili as it does to make a little one. Some weekend when there's
time and money, make four pot pies, or lasagnas, or whatever, and put
three in the freezer. Each one is a night off cooking. And not all
dinners have to be high cuisine. Sometimes it's just food. (see #2.)
Nice to have for the week everybody has the flu or somebody has a
crisis. Also nice if you just need hammock time.

5.) Kill your TV. The only thing I hear more than "everybody's
overscheduled these days" -- is the rising national average of how many
hours a day people spend hypnotized TV. Huh? For this we go into road
rage rushing home from work?

Sometimes Jeff finds me some discovery channel or history channel thing,
but it's rare. I get the headlines on the internet, the weather on the
radio, local stuff in the sunday paper. Even then I regret taking the
time to read about another mom leaving kids to die in a hot car, or some
other horror I didn't need to know about. Too much information, too much
advertising. My mom says she'll call me if we go to war or something.
Sometimes we rent a bad old science fiction movie... but I look at tv as
a waste of time I could spend making pots (reading to my kids, you name
it.) I have no idea who is sleeping with who on "friends" but I know my
neighbors. I'm ridiculously self assured without commercials telling me
I'm not young enough, thin enough, fashionable enough, rich enough....
(Not trying to sound too superior here, considering the amount of time I
spend staring at this OTHER flickering screen, reading clayart..)

6.) Value people most. My mom says, "When I look back at my life, the
time with little children was just a blink". I remember that and it
makes me stop saying "I'm busy, maybe later". We get bright poster
paints and go out to the deck and paint rolls of paper, and our hands,
and each other. We go to the park and lie on a blanket and watch cloud
pictures. The same could be said of the elders in our lives: when they
are gone, it's too late to tell them things, to hear their stories, to
just be quiet together. (see #5).

7.) Last one: free your mind. Often what makes that overload feeling
unbearable is a sense of rush, urgency, desperation -- it can be self
defeating and it's what Kahlil Gibran might call "self chosen" -- you
can un-choose it. The mantra that got me through the
two-in-cloth-diapers-and-one-at-the-breast years was "You CAN have it
all, just not all at once." You have a lifetime. You can be a brilliant
potter at 80 (I had dinner with one last night.) A little yoga in the
morning, a habit of doing one thing at a time and doing it with your
whole heart, can change your sense of "I'm never going to get there".
Play music. Take naps. I found myself this year doing with my life what
potters like Kevin Crowe and many here on clayart have said about pots:
I'm doing less, doing it more slowly, and enjoying it more. I used to
eat lunch while making appointments on the phone and paying bills.. now
I eat lunch while eating lunch.

Hope any of this is helpful. You have a lot on your plate, for sure. I
suspect you're a frustrated perfectionist, as well... it goes with the
territory. As a child of two work ethics -- irish farmers and german
enterpreneurs -- I can say with some authority that working yourself to
death is overrated. My goal these days is to be LESS productive. If some
passion (usually clay...this week pies) takes over, then so be it.. I'm
following my bliss, and the devil take the dirty laundry.

Life is short, but it's wide....

Yours, Kelly in Ohio (sorry for another long post...)

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BVCuma on thu 4 jul 02

>>I can say with some authority that working yourself to
death is overrated.<<

What at first appeared to be far too long a post...
had me, in the end, settled into myself and....relaxing.
ps. without a doubt, doing is easy,
it is not doing that is uneasy...