Until now my New Year's resolution has been don't make New Year's resolutions.
|My study and writing area before the clean-up. |
Note cat soaking up sun under the desk.
Now I'm feeling the need to do so, and the resolution is... be more organised.
I generally consider myself a very organised person. As a journalist and subeditor deadlines were not, as some say, guidelines, and I knew what needed to be done, who was doing it and when it needed to be done by, and I could reorganise quickly if a story fell through.
At home, I'm the uber organiser. My family has what is needed when it is needed. I write meal plans and shopping lists, and the calendar states who needs to be where when and with what.
|The bookshelf makes a huge difference.|
Still plenty of room for lists on the wall!
I am the List Master. I have a list of what we've got everyone for birthdays and Christmas. My family came to ours for Christmas and I had lists for what we were cooking; what we needed; what we needed to buy; what we needed to do; and when it needed to be done by. It was a major logistical operation.
One thing I’ve realised recently, however, is that I'm not great at organising myself.
I started studying this year and underestimated the work involved, so my writing time suffered. I did, however, make a spreadsheet of what was due when and what we were studying on each week. Next semester I've enrolled in subjects that include creative writing; hoping to kill two metaphoric birds with one stone (I under no circumstances condone killing birds – just ask my cats).
The shopping lists have not included my lunch, and when I’m in study/writing mode and not cooking mode I struggle to think of anything to whip up. I also enrolled twice in the same Writers Victoria course because I hadn't put 'enroll in course' on my to-do list.
|The desk is now clear. No more getting |
the blind stuck on the books.
One member of my writing group finds she can't write during the school term because her teaching brain and writing brain are different – she needs a certain amount of chaos for her imagination to fire up. I think I’m the same. My self-organisation has suffered because I'm thinking about what to write, how to word it, and when to do it – even if I'm not at my computer. I need to compartmentalise the organisation and disorganisation in order to write, study, do this blog, submit manuscripts, update Twitter, be a parent, run a household and deal with anything else that comes up.
To further complicate things, I’m having spinal surgery in less than two weeks (I’ve had a run of bad health over the past decade and jokingly resolved last New Year’s that I wouldn’t have surgery in 2013. It turns out I just made it). I'll be out of action for up to six weeks, and won't be able to lift anything for six months. But I now have no excuse to fall behind in my reading and writing – I physically won't be able to do anything else!
So, in true List Master form, here are my organisational goals for next year:
- Clean my desk. Pack away last semester's notes and texts. Clear everything else from area. Find way to cat-proof area.
- Always have something on my desk to do the next day. If I sit down to a clear desk I tend to get distracted by shiny objects such as books, email and social media. And fall prey to the cats' efforts to distract me.
- USE my notepad. I have it, now it's time to write in it.
- Set out time to study and write – separately. Be flexible enough to vary depending on what's due when. But ALWAYS leave an average of one hour a day to write.
- Leave the house if I need to in order to complete step 4. Feel no guilt about practically living at the coffee shop and library.
- DO NOT check email constantly waiting for offers of publication. They will not email, they will call. Also DO NOT check phone constantly for missed calls offering publication.
- Limit non-writing computer time to 30 minutes total a day.
My last day of 2013 has been spent completing step 1. Other than cat-proofing – I think that’s an impossible task. The old study notes have been packed away, household bookshelves moved around so I actually have one, and the cats, for the moment at least, have vacated the area.
Resolution underway! Happy New Year, everyone. I hope you and your family have a year filled with good health, good things and good times.