Ok here's what were gonna do, School

Messy Desk

Fire Tower
I’d rather be hiking on the perfect Fall day…

It’s swamped, at this point, with books, papers, balloons, and miscellaneous stuff that threatens to fall to the floor at any given moment. I’ll take a bit of time and clear it up soon, but it won’t be today. I have to clear it off from time to time, or risk sanity when trying to find something vital buried in the shifting sediments. My mind is like that, right now. I’m trying to regain my compartments, so I can focus on school, then work, then writing, in a tidy manner. So far this week it’s eluding me.

I get a bit frustrated with these changes in schedules. I think, ‘wouldn’t it be lovely to have a job I reported to each morning, worked, walked out and drove home, and didn’t think about again until morning?’ But after 12 years of working from home, with no set hours, kids underfoot, and constantly juggling projects to make more income happen, nothing has changed. I’m just juggling school more, kids less (and missing them!), life whizzes onward with supersonic speed, except when it crawls like a snail. I do wonder how I will adjust to that set-schedule job, at times. I’ve become used to the messy desk, and all it means. Can I go to having a clean desk?

Over the years, I’ve learned various techniques to manage time and resources (like my own energy) usually through painfully informative errors. I keep lists. Now, they are on my phone and sync to computer, tablet, and partner’s email. Which is amazingly useful. I also have a dry-erase board for household lists. I find erasing items from the lists rewarding, so they work for me. When feeling particularly time-crunched, I break my days into lists and even schedules, which go into my google calendars (I maintain two, currently, one personal, and one business) and onto the big whiteboard next to my desk. Again, I find the act of standing up, drawing a line through an item, and at the end of the day, totting up how many are done versus how many carry over a very satisfying exercise. These might not work for everyone.

Because my schedules are varied, and interrupted, I will often have to re-evaluate where my day is going. I got a client call during ‘homework time’ this afternoon, and took it. In my business, you get the gig if you are the first live voice to speak to them, the rule of thumb goes. So I was courteous, as chatty as she wanted me to be, and I got the gig. Then I followed the call up with a prompt email, again, a good business practice in what I do. The result was that my homework time got bumped into my writing time, which got curtailed so I could spend time with my sweetheart when he got home from work.

Unless I’m extremely stressed, the above sequence of events doesn’t bother me any longer. I can’t let it: it happens far too often. I found it amusing, a few years ago, that I had to explain what triage was to a team of managers who were interviewing me for an office job (I got that job). They wanted to know how I managed time, and when I described my list system, how I would handle an interruption to my routines.

Triage is a sorting out. Some projects are just damaged, they can be set aside for another day without critical repercussions. Others go on red-alert status, needing immediate attention to keep them going or bring them to completion. And some things there is no saving, and they are filed permanently, under ideas to try again, or deadline passed, onto the next project. I will often, when I’m doing day-by-day lists, move things onward to the next day, and it doesn’t bother me (most of the time… I’d be fibbing if I denied hating some days which just spiral out of my control). This is part of my triage, knowing what can wait, and what can’t. For me, the visual of the list helps, to remind me if I have an important task which MUST happen that day. Because I’m absent-minded. Very. Hey, look… squirrel!

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