When it comes to getting organized, consistency is key.
Except when it’s not.
Over Easter, my husband and I went to Ireland to visit our daughter, who was studying there during spring semester. It was a great trip, but it resulted in total upheaval of my schedule and systems, as vacations often do. When we got back, I ditched my tried-and-true system for a simpler plan — temporarily. For the first few days, it was been exactly what I needed but, when I found myself longing for a daily plan, I knew it was time to switch back.
While we should always be open to new solutions when the strategies we’re using aren’t working, I think there are also times when we should abandon the thing that works for something else. Here are three that I can think of.
When it’s what we need in the moment. Coming back from nearly a week away, my brain was spinning with things I needed to do. My usual system involves a combination of lists and time slots, but my immediate need was to just dump everything onto a list where I could take stock. The time slots would come later — but not until after I’d checked a few things off the master list which, for sanity’s sake, had only two categories.
When we’re in transition. This definitely piggybacks on what I wrote above, but it can also happen on its own. There are times that require schedules and there are times that require a free flow, moving from one thing to another as time and mood permit. When we’re making the transition from one into the other, we may need to adjust our systems as well.
When the amount of stuff temporarily overwhelms the system. If I had attempted to take the rather substantial number of items on my two-column list and slide them into time slots, I’d have run out of space on the page I use for my day-by-day schedule. Then, instead of becoming a tool, this day-by-day list would have become a source of stress, which defeats the purpose of using a tool in the first place. Tools and systems should always work in our service, not the other way around. When we discover that the tools are running the show, it’s time to step back and ask ourselves if we need something different.
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By the end of the week, I was ready to sit down with one of my week-at-a-glance sheets and pull everything together, assigning times to what I could and listing what I couldn’t yet assign a time to. By Sunday evening, I was ready to return to my usual system but, for those first few days, my temporary system was just what I needed to help me return slowly and (somewhat) smoothly to the real world.
Copyright 2019 Lisa Hess