Eating the frog

(And other practical tips for “simple”)

Last week I participated in a webinar that included Andrew Mellen, who I would describe as an organizational guru, or as an unstuffer of stuff.  I was interested for two key reasons:

1.  I am not in “stuff equilibrium.”  I openly admit there’s some clutter in this house, and some things I seriously need to consider rehoming.  And no, we will not discuss my shoe “situation” right now.

2.  I’m always looking for great ideas on how to better manage my stuff/ time/ life in a way that keeps space in there for the joy but doesn’t require me to swim through a sea of much to get there.  Really, I’m seeking simplicity in the midst of a completely crazy life.

Statistic he started out with, and that opened my eyes:  80% of the information that we keep we never use.  80%.  (((SIGH)))

Subsequently he moved to referring to clutter as “deferred decisions” (who told on me and my procrastination?!?) and differentiated uncluttering into the categories of managing historic accumulation and preventing it going forward.

The time management discussion helped to reinforce something I started doing a couple of months ago- I’m using the Timeful app to put tasks into my schedule so that my to-do lists don’t become a dead letter office.  Somehow, I’m much more accountable for going to yoga or working on that manuscript if it appears on my schedule.  I get that it’s a mind game, but it’s one that helps me to stay on task.  I also learned about toggl, which helps with time tracking.  I’m playing with toggl a bit right now, trying to learn how to interface it with the rest of my time management, but it appears it will be a great way for me to get some realistic estimates of how long tasks are taking me.

Confession:  I’m a procrastinator at times.  Not about everything- there are tasks that I dive into with relish because they are things that I’m really passionate about.  But yes, I can be a procrastinator, deferring things until they are forced.  Today was a great example of this overall- while I was on time for my 3 meetings and did get an errand run in a timely fashion, I didn’t make the progress I intended on a manuscript, nor did I finish grading the OSCEs from my last student group.  I did, however, cook a lovely dinner for myself, and I got a good workout in.  And, of course, I’m blogging.  I’m doing the “fun” things that make me feel good, and I’m not eating the frog- or doing the task-y, unglamorous stuff that I don’t want to do today (said in my best whiny voice).  I’ll admit that I set myself up for failure this morning because I scheduled in 30 minutes for the manuscript, and didn’t actually put the OSCE grading on my schedule…then when I sat down to do it, decided instead to set up my new wireless keyboard and track pad.  And load Office 2011 onto my home office Mac.  Yes, anything but getting work done, it seems.

For tomorrow, I’ve already “eaten the frog” as far as managing my tasks into my schedule.  I won’t get to start with the stuff in optimal time slots; I need to pick up Christmas tamales, and I’m doing that at 8 am to beat the rush later in the day.  But it’s all got a home, and just for tomorrow I’m not going to move things around and see how that goes.  Oh, and I’ll be done working by 1230 so I can go to yoga.

I’ll let you know how it goes.